Video shows anti-war Russian protester expressing fear about speaking up before arrest
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A video showing Russian police arresting two women during a protest on March 13 has gone viral. The scene took place on Manezhnaya Square in Moscow and was posted on Twitter the same day by a group of Russian activists known as Activatica, who are protesting the war.
The video posted on Twitter by Activatica, which has since garnered more than a million views, shows police arresting two women during an anti-war protest on Manezhnaya Square.
“I just wrote ‘two words’ on the poster, do you think I’ll be arrested?” she asks the cameraman.
Soon after she finishes speaking to the man, at least seven police officers wearing riot gear arrest her and remove her from the square.
The activist then turns his lens to another woman, wearing a black cap.
Though she is present on the square, she seems to be a supporter of the invasion.
“What about the people who aren’t protesting and who think this special operation that our country initiated… are you showing them, too?” she says to the activist.
Soon after she speaks to the activist, police arrest her, too— perhaps mistakenly thinking she is also an anti-war protester.
Before her arrest, the woman with the sign expressed fear
Evgueny Kourakine is the activist who filmed this video. He has taken on the role of cameraman for Russian activist group Activatica. He headed to Maneszhnaya Square to film the protests on March 13.
Kourakine gave us a longer version of his video, which appears to show the young woman carrying the sign hesitating before speaking with him, evaluating the risks. She then expresses fear of the police and the state media outlets present.
“It’s just that there are so many police, so much press. What’s being filmed?” she says to the cameraman. They talk about the police vans on site and the cameraman gives her some advice. “It would be better to cross the square quickly so you don’t end up in a police van,” he says. She asks him who he works for and if he supports the protests. He says that he does. She hesitates before saying to the camera the words that will lead to her arrest. “I just wrote ‘Two words’ on here,” she says.
Our team spoke to Kourakine about what happened.
It was March 13, a day when protests were organised in the main squares in the city. The incident in the video occurred on Manezhnaya Square.
At that point, activists who were trying to hold up banners had been completely cleared from the square.
It was impossible to get close to the monument [which stands in the center of the square]. The police had surrounded everything. Even people who stopped or those who were simply walking were pushed into police vans.
We watched people being arrested for about two hours. Several people came up to us to tell us about their beliefs or to show us their signs.
We warned this woman that she should leave the square as quickly as possible. But in spite of everything, she decided to express her opinion.
The second woman [in the video] supported the special military operation in Ukraine. She was also arrested— the authorities must have made a mistake.
Some people on social media have said that the second woman, the one wearing a black cap, was a pro-war activist who had already been caught on camera assaulting Russian anti-war activist Lev Ponomarev. This is her Instagram account, where she shares posts supporting the war in Ukraine.
Third woman arrested while reciting poetry
Kourakine also shared with us a video of a third woman, who was arrested soon after while reciting a poem by Robert Rojdestvensky.
When Kourakine tells the woman that he is filming “brave people who aren’t afraid to speak up” about the situation in Ukraine, she begins reciting the poem Requiem by Robert Rozhdestvensky in honor of victims of the war.
“Men! As long as the heart beats, remember! Remember the cost of happiness, please, remember!
She was also arrested.
The Activatica’s website is blocked in Russia, but available in other countries.
Police arrested at least 30 protesters and one journalist, according to the AFP. More than 850 protesters have been arrested across Russia, according to the NGO OVD-Info.