Nearly 70 Moscow metro passengers and pickters have been detained across the Russian capital on the Russia Day national holiday Sunday, an independent watchdog has said.
“At least 67 people were detained by police on Russia Day,” the OVD-Info police-monitoring website said.
“Most of them — 43 people — were detained in the Moscow metro using facial recognition [technology],” it reported.
Some were reportedly told that there had been an alert targeting them for detention. They were released by late Sunday without any charges pressed against them.
OVD-Info added that 19 Muscovites have been detained for holding anti-war pickets, with some of them facing misdemeanor charges of "discrediting" the Russian military's actions abroad.
More than 15,000 anti-war protesters have been detained across Russia since President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
A week later, Russia passed a law making it a felony punishable by up to 15 years in jail to spread “fake news” about the Russian Armed Forces.
Russia Day marks the day when the legislature of the then-Russian Federative Socialist Soviet Republic adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty — June 12, 1990.
The day was made a national holiday in 1992.
OVD-Info reported additional detentions of anti-war picketers in cities including St. Petersburg, Penza and Vladivostok.