In recent weeks, Russians have been attempting to demonstrate against the Russian war in Ukraine–an action that has been difficult because the Russian government has recently passed laws limiting free assembly in Russia. In Moscow Sunday night, Russian protesters attempted to demonstrate against Russia’s undeclared war and were arrested by Russian police.
The protesters attempted to hold a candlelight vigil composed of 2,249 candles–equivalent to the number of civilians already reported killed in Eastern Ukraine, but were prevented from doing so by Russian police.
“Respected citizens! Extinguish the candles. This is forbidden in a public place!” police announced before extinguishing the candles.
Dmitry Kartsev, an employee of Gazeta.ru and a participant in the aborted vigil, was arrested after saying, “I have come to remember those who have died on both sides of the conflict taking place in Ukraine.”
“I’m not an activist at all. I’m a person who is bitter, that people died–died due to stupidity,” said another participant. “People died who don’t even know the truth about what is happening. I have a friend who went to Donbass as a volunteer. And died. That’s it, the man is gone.”
The number of 2,249 was reported by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights last week. A later number, tallied by UNOHCHR and reported by Reuters, was 2,593, excluding Malaysia Airlines MH17 victims.
Another participant, who also took part in an extension of the demonstration in another, less public locale, said of the further action, which was seen by very few, “That was useless, even laughable. “But something had to be done. You don’t want to lose the remnants of your human face.”
A new phenomenon also occurred with regards to the protests. Lone protesters have begun protesting in the streets. The protesters are proceeding on the presumption that, unlike group protests, single protesters do not require permts for demonstration. However, five people were arrested by Russian police for solitary protests, including composer Aleksandr Manotskov.
By Day Blakely Donaldson