Hundreds arrested in a dozen cities across Russia as protests over mobilisation continue

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Protests over mobilisation have taken place in more than a dozen cities across Russia.

Police arrested hundreds of people as authorities seek to crack down on dissent over the Ukraine war.

Girls as young as 14 years old were among those detained in St Petersburg, reports say, with authorities using stun guns and batons.

In Moscow, screams were heard after a woman was put into an empty prisoner transport van, according to a human rights organisation.

More than 700 people have been arrested in Saturday’s protests, according to human rights organisation OVD-Info. Hundreds more were detained earlier this week.

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Meanwhile at the southern border, traffic queues stretched for six miles and some drivers abandoned their vehicles, as military-aged men continue to flee Russia in droves.

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Similar scenes were spotted at airports, as dozens of flights out of the country – with tickets sold at sky-high prices – carried men to international destinations such as Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Serbia, where Russians do not need visas.

Russian law enforcement officers detain a person during a rally, after opposition activists called for street protests against the mobilisation of reservists ordered by President Vladimir Putin, in Moscow, Russia September 24, 2022. REUTERS/REUTERS PHOTOGRAPHER
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Police on the streets of Moscow as protests continued on Saturday

It comes after President Vladimir Putin, faced with a series of defeats in Ukraine, announced a partial mobilisation that could see 300,000 reserves called up to fight.

While surveys in Russia have suggested widespread domestic backing for what the Kremlin calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine – in part due to extensive government propaganda – the threat of mass conscription has sparked protests.

Long-standing threats of detention for attending anti-government rallies have not stopped some people taking to the streets to demonstrate against mobilisation.

Hundreds of people have been arrested in the last few days as protesters and police clashed in cities right across the country.

Russian law enforcement officers lead away a person during a rally, after opposition activists called for street protests against the mobilisation of reservists ordered by President Vladimir Putin, in Moscow, Russia September 24, 2022. REUTERS/REUTERS PHOTOGRAPHER
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A number of people have been detained in the Russian capital

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Demonstrations have been reported in cities nearly 4,000 miles apart, including Moscow, St Petersburg, Tomsk, Tver, Khabarovsk, Chita, Omsk, Ulan-Ude, Barnaul, Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Perm, Saratov and Pskov.

In Omsk in Siberia, an image shared with the Reuters news agency appears to show some of those who have been drafted for the war in Ukraine fighting with local police.

It is alleged that people called on the police to “come and die with them in the trenches”.

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