Is desperate Putin arresting PRIMARY SCHOOL children for waving anti-war placards? Opposition politician in Moscow shares heart-rending images of youngsters ‘in paddy wagons accused of extremism for opposing Ukraine invasion’
- Anti-war protesters in Russia risk jail and treason charges for voicing dissent
- But that hasn’t stopped thousands from taking to the streets against the war
- According to pictures shared today, even children have been detained by police
- Three children were shown in back of a police van holding banners and flowers
- Reports said they went to lay flowers at the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow
A Russian opposition politician has shared heart-rending images of children detained in the back of a police van after taking part in anti-war protests.
Despite the Kremlin having no tolerance for dissent, protesters have defied Moscow and taken to the streets against President Vladimir Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine, risking jail and even treason charges.
Almost 7,000 people have so-far been detained by Russian police in as many as 50 cities, according to OVD-Info – an organisation that tracks protests in the country.
According to photographs shared on Tuesday by opposition politician Ilya Yashin, children are among those that have been snatched by officers.
The pictures show at least three children – no older than Primary School age – sitting in the back of what is reportedly a Moscow police van holding flowers and banners. One reporter said they went to lay flowers at the city’s Ukrainian embassy.
One girl is shown holding a sign that says ‘No War’ in Russian. Small Russian and Ukrainian flags have been painted around the words. To the right, the two flags are drawn followed by a small pink heart, to says ‘Russia plus Ukraine equals love’.
A Russian opposition politician has shared heart-rending images of children (pictured) detained in the back of a police van after taking part in anti-war protests
The girl is shown sitting on a chair in the back of a police van with a blank expression, with two children sat either side of her, who also both appear calm despite the circumstances.
A girl to her left is shown in a pink puffer jacket and mittens holding a bunch of flowers and another banner, while a boy to her left has his backpack at his feet.
Another photo shows the girl in the pink jacket standing up against metal bars that are keeping them inside the van. Her face appears red, as if she had been crying.
The other children can be seen behind her, as can what appear to be at least two Russian police officers dressed in black uniforms.
Officers in the same uniforms have been seen in Russian cities cracking down on protesters and bundling them into vans.
A third picture, again showing the girl in the pink jacket, suggest the children were taken to a police station. She can be seen sitting on a chair next to a desk, where a woman in police uniform and a mask is working on a computer.
The ‘no war’ banners they were holding are laid out on the desk behind the girl, as is one of her flowers. It appears to be dark outside.
Ilya Yashin is a former politician who was banned from running for office in 2021 because he branded an ‘extremist’ for, be believes, his support of Russian opposition leader Alexi Navalny.
According to photographs shared on Tuesday by opposition politician Ilya Yashin, children are among those that have been snatched by officers. The pictures show at least three children – no older than Primary School age – sitting in the back of what is reportedly a Moscow police van holding flowers and banners
People gather to stage anti-war protest in Saint-Petersburg, Russia on March 1, 2022.
Police officers detain a demonstrator during a protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in central Saint Petersburg on March 1, 2022
He posted the pictures to social media on Tuesday night, writing on Facebook: ‘Nothing out of the ordinary: just kids in paddy wagons behind an anti-war poster. This is Putin’s Russia, folks. You live here.’
He continued to predict that the ‘Kremlin propaganda machine’ would blame the children’s parents, telling people not to involve their kids in politics.
But Yashin said that was irrelevant. ‘Many generations in our country (are) taught from the school bench that the worst thing is war, and the main value is the peaceful sky above the head,’ he wrote.
He recalled his own time as at school, saying he and his classmates would draw anti-war posters. ‘And that’s ok!’ he added. ‘Children against war is damn normal!’
The images were picked up and shared by reporters. One said that the children were taken by their mothers to lay flowers at the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow.
However, the women – along with their children – were arrested and thrown in the police van, the reporter said, adding they would all be held by police overnight.
The journalist claimed that there was a fourth child who was detained that was not pictured in the photographs.
Meanwhile in Saint Petersburg, another night of protests saw police cracking down on anti-war demonstrations on Tuesday.
On Sunday alone, police arrested 1,700 protesters across 46 Russian cities, OVD-Info reported. Pictures from Moscow and Saint Petersburg showed officer grabbing protesters and carrying them to police vans.
Nearly 7,000 people have now been detained in antiwar protests across Russia since Thursday
Pictured: A protester is dragged away by Omon paramilitary members during a demonstration in Moscow on Sunday
Russia’s feared Omon paramilitary thugs have been seen on the streets to stamp out any opposition to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The helmeted cosmonauts in camouflaged riot gear have been seen regularly dragging away demonstrators.
Protests against the invasion started Thursday in Russia and have continued daily ever since, despite the Omon and police moving swiftly to crack down on the rallies.
The Kremlin has sought to downplay the protests, insisting that a much broader share of Russians support the assault on Ukraine.
But younger tech-savvy Russians with access to independent media have been voicing their opposition to the Kremlin’s invasion, risking jail and even treason charges.
On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on the U.N.’s top human rights body to hold Russia accountable for its invasion of Ukraine.
The top U.S. diplomat also singled out Russia in recorded remarks delivered to the Human Rights Council for repression within the country, citing reports that thousands of protesters in Russia who were opposed to the invasion had been detained.
Blinken urged the council Tuesday to send a message that Russian President Vladimir Putin should unconditionally stop the ‘unprovoked attack’ and withdraw its forces from Ukraine.
‘We must condemn firmly and unequivocally Russia’s attempt to topple a democratically elected government and its gross human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, and we must take steps to hold the perpetrators accountable,’ he said.
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