Russian police block mobilization protests, arrest hundreds
Russian police moved quickly Saturday to disperse peaceful protests against President Vladimir Putin's military mobilization order, arresting hundreds, including some children, in several cities across the vast country.
Police detained more than 700 people, including over 300 in Moscow and nearly 150 in St. Petersburg, according to OVD-Info, an independent website that monitors political arrests in Russia. Some of the arrested individuals were minors, OVD-Info said.
The demonstrations followed protests that erupted within hours Wednesday after Putin, in a move to beef up his volunteer forces fighting in Ukraine, announced a call-up of experienced and skilled army reservists.
The Defense Ministry said about 300,000 people would be summoned to active duty, but the order left a door open to many more getting called into service. Most Russian men ages 18-65 are automatically counted as reservists.