Russian protester holds up sign saying ‘two words’ and is marched off by armed police seconds later


A protester holding a tiny sign with “two words” written on it was arrested by the Russian authorities within three seconds of her showing it in a shocking example of how the country is cracking down on free speech.

In the footage, a horde of heavily armoured policemen descended on a young woman in Manezhnaya Square in Moscow after she stood by herself and held up a small paper sign.

The woman was asked by a cameraman if she supports the activists who have been protesting Russia’s war on Ukraine. She replied that she did and said: “I’d like to ask your opinion, if I could just say two words… Am I going to get arrested for this or not?”

The cameraman then replied “You’re already being detained” as a swarm of police officers whisked the woman away.

Another woman in the square then walked up to the person filming and asked: “Are you only filming the opposition?”

He replied: “We’re filming everybody.” The second woman responded: “And if anyone else has an opinion, you’ll film it, too?”

Police led this young woman away just seconds after she held up a paper sign


The woman held up a sign reading “two words”


She continued to speak about the Russian people who don’t go to protests and who believe in Mr Putin’s “military operation”. But before she could share her views in support of the invasion, she too was whisked away by police.

Demonstrations took place in many locations across Russia on Sunday and monitoring organisation, OVD-Info, said over 700 people were detained.

In Moscow, AFP reported that there were a dozen arrests and that police were taking away anybody without press papers.

The first woman is rushed away by police


A second woman spoke to the camera and asked if she could voice her support for the war in Ukraine


In Russia’s second city, Saint Petersburg, AFP also witnessed multiple arrests, including a protester being dragged across the ground.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, more than 14,200 people have been reportedly arrested in Russia for taking part in anti-war protests.

Moscow has also been cracking down on independent journalism and, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 150 of Russia’s independent reporters and editors have left the country.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here.

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