Putin's thugs drag away protesters in Moscow after Alexei Navalny plea

Putin's thugs drag away protesters in Moscow after Alexei Navalny plea

Putin’s security thugs drag away protesters in Moscow and Saint Petersburg after Alexei Navalny urged Russians not to be a ‘nation of frightened cowards’ and stage daily demonstrations over Ukraine invasion

  • Dramatic images showed riot officers manhandling both men and women in Saint Petersburg and Moscow
  • The scenes came after jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny had urged Russians to stage daily protests
  • Navalny said his country should not be a ‘nation of frightened cowards’ and called Putin ‘an insane little tsar’  

Police in Moscow and Saint Petersburg were today pictured dragging away people who had gathered to protest against Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Dramatic images showed riot officers manhandling both men and women on Wednesday – after the Russian president stepped up his forces’ attacks on cities in Ukraine. 

Two women were seen sobbing as they were dragged away in Saint Petersburg, whilst one man in Moscow was carried by three officers, all of whom were wearing balaclavas. 

The scenes came after jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny had urged Russians to stage daily protests against their country’s invasion of Ukraine, saying the country should not be a ‘nation of frightened cowards’ and calling Putin ‘an insane little tsar.’

‘I am urging everyone to take to the streets and fight for peace,’ he said in a statement posted on Facebook, calling on Russians not to be afraid of going to prison.

‘If, to prevent war, we need to fill up the jails and police vans, we will fill up the jails and police vans.’

‘Everything has a price and now, in the spring of 2022, we should pay that price.’

Russian police were today pictured dragging away people who had gathered in Saint Petersburg to protest against Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

Dramatic images showed riot officers manhandling both men and women on Wednesday – after the Russian president stepped up his forces’ attacks on cities in Ukraine

A Russian law enforcement officer detains a demonstrator during an anti-war protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Saint Petersburg, Russia

The scenes came after jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny had urged Russians to stage daily protests against their country’s invasion of Ukraine, saying the country should not be a ‘nation of frightened cowards’ and calling Putin ‘an insane little tsar’. Above: Navalny seen during a court hearing last month

The 45-year-old, who led the biggest protests in Russia against Putin in recent years and survived a poisoning with Novichok nerve agent in 2020, is now serving a prison sentence on old fraud charges outside Moscow.

Thousands of Russians have taken to the streets to protest the invasion since it began, and more than 6,800 demonstrators have been arrested, according to OVD-Info, an independent monitor.

Navalny urged the people of Russia and Belarus – which allowed Russian troops passage to attack Ukraine – to demonstrate in main squares at 7:00 pm every weekday and at 2:00 pm on weekends and during holidays.

‘You cannot wait another day,’ he said, adding that Russia should not become a ‘nation of frightened cowards’ who are pretending not to see an ‘aggressive war unleashed by our clearly insane little tsar.’

Earlier, a haunting video showed a Russian mother in Moscow trying to explain to her tearful daughter why they had been detained by armed police for opposing Putin’s war.

They went to put flowers at the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow, and the children handed in ‘No to War’ posters they had drawn. But the mothers and children were all detained.

Sociologist Alexandra Arkhipova told of her horror when mothers Ekaterina Zavizion and Olga Alter and their children Sofya Gladkova, seven, Liza Gladkova, 11, Gosha Petrov, 11, Matvey Petrov, nine and David Petrov, seven, were held by Russian officers.

‘All of them were detained by the police,’ she said.

The police were keeping them first in a police vehicle, and brought them to the Presnenskoye police station.

‘Phones were taken away from parents, and the policemen are shouting at the parents threatening these brave mums and their children, that the kids could be put into care right now, and these mothers would lose their parental rights.’ 

Putin last Thursday ordered troops to invade pro-Western Ukraine to ‘de-militarise’ and ‘denazify’ the country.

Ukraine says more than 350 civilians, including 14 children, have been killed in the conflict and the International Criminal Court has opened a war crimes investigation against Russia.

Police officers detain women during a protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in central Moscow on March 2, 2022

This man was seen being forced forwards by two Russian riot officers in Saint Petersburg as a crackdown on protests continued

Thousands of Russians have taken to the streets to protest the invasion since it began, and more than 6,800 demonstrators have been arrested, according to OVD-Info, an independent monitor

This protester was seen with a peace symbol drawn on her hand as she took to the streets in Saint Petersburg on Wednesday

A riot police officer stands by barriers in Manezhnaya Square in central Moscow during an unauthorized rally against the Russian military operation in Ukraine

Today, Russia stepped up its attacks on Ukraine’s major cities. Officials in Mariupol said a ‘full-scale genocide’ was underway as Putin’s men unleashed a 15-hour artillery barrage. 

Kharkiv also came under heavy bombardment in a dark sign of what could be to come in the capital Kyiv. 

Mariupol, located in the south of Ukraine on the Black Sea, has been surrounded by Russian forces and struck by artillery in an apparent attempt to bomb the city into submission as Putin’s men resort to ‘medieval’ tactics. 

Sergiy Orlov, the deputy mayor, said entire districts had been levelled with such heavy barrages that medics cannot get in to retrieve the dead.

‘We are near to a humanitarian catastrophe,’ he said. ‘Russian forces are several kilometers away on all sides,’ he added. 

‘The Ukrainian army is brave and they will continue to defend the city, but Russia does not fight with their army, they just destroy districts… We are in a terrible situation.’

Law enforcement officers are seen in Moscow city center on the day of an unauthorized rally against the Russian military operation in Ukraine

A demonstrator reacts as she is detained by a law enforcement officer during an anti-war protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Saint Petersburg

These two riot officers marched a protester away, but he held his thumb aloft defiantly after taking to the streets

Russian law enforcement officers detain a person wearing a press symbol during an anti-war protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Saint Petersburg

People sit at a bus stop as law enforcement officers line up during an anti-war protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Saint Petersburg

Meanwhile Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, came under heavy barrage in the early hours as Russian troops try to surround and seize it after days of fighting – with a rocket slamming into a university building and police station in the early hours before the city council was also struck, with one of the explosions caught in a dramatic video.

The bombardment gives a dark taste of what is likely to come for other cities such as Kyiv after analysts warned Russia’s military – having suffered heavy losses trying to pull off ambitious precision strikes – was likely to resort to surrounding cities and bombing them into submission to force a bloody victory.

Putin invaded Ukraine amid a historic crackdown on opposition at home, with Navalny’s political organisations banned.

Navalny accused Putin of using ‘pseudo-historic nonsense’ to justify the invasion of Ukraine.

‘I cannot, do not want and will not remain silent, watching how pseudo-historical nonsense about the events from 100 years ago has become an excuse for Russians to kill Ukrainians, and those, defending themselves, kill Russians,’ he said.

‘Putin is not Russia.’   

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