Russian Protesters Are Now Being Arrested For Brandishing Blank Signs
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Protesters in Russia are being detained by police for demonstrating in public with blank posters.
As protests against the Ukrainian invasion continue across Russia, video footage released on social media has captured a woman in central Russia being arrested for essentially nothing.
Police in Nizhny Novgorod arrested a demonstrator today for protesting with a blank sign. Welcome to Russia in 2022. pic.twitter.com/YprwDqex8V— Kevin Rothrock (@KevinRothrock) March 12, 2022
"Police in Nizhny Novgorod arrested a demonstrator today for protesting with a blank sign. Welcome to Russia in 2022," tweeted Kevin Rothrock, who is the editor for the English edition of independent news outlet Meduza.
This is not the first case of a protester, armed with only a blank piece of paper, being whisked away by police.
In the days after Russia invaded Ukraine, police arrested activist Anastasia Nikolaeva in the city of Rostov-on-Don.
She made up a single-person picket and was holding a blank sign.
Another man was reportedly arrested on March 6 in Yekaterinburg for demonstrating with a blank sheet of paper, a local news outlet said.
Ещё на Сквере Кирова сегодня задержали мужчину с чистым листом бумаги. Мы там, конечно, не были, но полагаем, что лозунгов он тоже не выкрикивал. pic.twitter.com/1LnzwqXW2T— Иркутский инсайдер (@irk_insider) March 6, 2022
Суд в Ростове-на-Дону арестовал активистку Анастасию Николаеву на восемь суток. В суде ее интересы защищал адвокат Сергей Ковалевич, сотрудничающий с ОВД-Инфо.— ОВД-Инфо (@OvdInfo) February 25, 2022
Николаеву признали виновной по статье о неповиновении полицейскому из-за одиночного пикета с пустым листом. pic.twitter.com/PpAYZPH04Q
You can also apparently be arrested by police for holing up a sign with writing completely unrelated to the Russian-Ukrainian war.
In a video going viral on social media, a woman can be seen holding up a sign that literally says 'two words' in Russian.
The demonstrator says to the person holding the camera, asking: "Am I going to get arrested for this or not?"
Within seconds, a group of police dressed in protective gear with helmets and visors come out of nowhere to remove her.
Another woman approaches the cameraman and begins to voice her opinion, explaining why she supports the war against Ukraine – but police grab her by the arm and drag her away from the camera before she can elaborate.
One of the most extraordinary videos I’ve ever seen. The first woman is holding up a sign that says ‘two words’. pic.twitter.com/6tP89LjYyP— Jonathan Lis (@jonlis1) March 14, 2022
The Kremlin was cracking down on anti-war protests from the first week of the invasion into Ukraine.
Moscow blocked access to social media and shut down independent media outlets to prevent external information reaching citizens about Russia's attack on its western neighbour.
Speaking out against Russia's war in Ukraine can lead to hefty fines for Russians or even imprisonment for up to 15 years.
Russia's parliament handed down the legislation in the first week of the invasion in order to prevent the spread of 'false information' relating to Russia's 'special military operation'.
People within the country can detained 'under Article 20.3.3. of the Code of Administrative Offences', which is legislation that targets those who discredit 'the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in order to protect the interests of the Russian Federation and its citizens [and] maintain international peace and security'.
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