Anti-War Protests Break Out In Russia After Ukraine Invasion

Demonstrators march with a banner that reads: "Ukraine - Peace, Russia - Freedom", in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, after Russia's attack on Ukraine. Hundreds of people gathered in the center of Moscow on Thursday, protesting against Russia's attack on Ukraine. Many of the demonstrators were detained. Similar protests took place in other Russian cities, and activists were also arrested. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

After Vladimir Putin announced the Russian invasion of Ukraine Thursday morning, thousands of people took to the streets to protest the military campaign.

The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs warned against the protests, saying, “The Russian Interior Ministry warns that any provocative actions, aggression toward police officers, and failure to obey their legitimate demands will be immediately prevented”.

“People committing such offenses will be detained and held liable,” it continued. “Offices of the Russian Interior Ministry and other law enforcement agencies are in full control of the situation around the country and will take all the necessary measures to maintain law and order”.

“Be smart and don’t compromise your safety,” the ministry added. Spokesperson Irina Volk told citizens “to remain calm and refrain from participating in uncoordinated actions”.

According to the OVD-Info monitor, police had made at least 1,702 arrest in 53 Russian cities Thursday. The larger protests in Moscow and St Petersburg saw the most arrests.

Protesters were seen chanting “No to war!” as they gathered in the streets.

Russia’s Novaya Gazeta reported “that local leaders from over 100 municipalities had signed letters in protest of the invasion,” said the New York Post.

Many Russians are upset with Putin’s decision and believe the war should have never started.

Multiple Russian activists joined the protests and called on social media for people to take to the streets. A petition started by human rights advocate Lev Ponomavyov gained 289,000 by the end of the day.

Outside of Russia, protests have begun in the United States and across Europe.

In Times Square in New York City, crowds of demonstrators gathered with a plan to march to the Russian Mission, and then up to the Russian Consulate, Fox News reported.

Protesters also gathered in London outside the office home of the prime minister in support of Ukraine.

According to Fox News, protests were seen in Paris, France, and Berlin, Germany outside Russian embassies.

In Dublin, Ireland, the Russian coat of arms outside the Russian embassy was covered in red paint. A “Stand with Ukraine” demonstration formed outside the Russian Consulate General in Edinburgh, Scotland, collecting crowds of people.