Security forces in Russia detained over 1,300 people on Wednesday, 21 September, at protests denouncing the mobilisation of troops, which was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin amid the war in Ukraine.
Independent protest monitoring group OVD-Info said that as per the data it had collated from 38 cities across the country, around 1,332 people had been detained by late evening on Wednesday, hours after Putin addressed the nation.
The figures include at least 502 in Moscow and 524 in St Petersburg, which is the country's second most populous city.
Several protesters were reportedly heard chanting "no mobilisation."
"Everyone is scared. I am for peace and I don't want to have to shoot. But coming out now is very dangerous, otherwise there would be many more people," a protester named Vasily Fedorov was quoted as saying by AFP.
Another protester, 60-year-old Alexei, said, "I came out to the rally planning to participate, but it looks like they've already arrested everyone. This regime has condemned itself and is destroying its youth."
On the other hand, Russian Interior Ministry official Irini Volk said in a statement that officials had prevented attempts by people to stage what she called "small protests."
"In a number of regions, there were attempts to stage unauthorised actions which brought together an extremely small number of participants,” Volk was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.
"These were all stopped. And those persons who violated laws were detained and taken to police stations for investigation and establish their responsibility," she further added.
Putin's Address to the Nation
"We are talking about partial mobilisation, that is, only citizens who are currently in the reserve will be subject to conscription, and above all, those who served in the armed forces have a certain military specialty and relevant experience," Putin said while addressing the nation.
Putin also asserted that he was not bluffing and accused the West of "crossing all lines" in its "aggressive anti-Russia policy."
(With inputs from AFP.)