NewsRussians rally in 'Noon Against Putin' vote as arrests begin

Russians rally in 'Noon Against Putin' vote as arrests begin

"South against Putin". Giant queues in front of the premises
"South against Putin". Giant queues in front of the premises
Images source: © TG
3:22 PM EDT, March 18, 2024

In Russia, the "Noon Against Putin" action persists, reportedly orchestrated by Navalny's team. Immense queues of individuals casting their votes against the regime are forming at polling stations. Online, images of ballots filled with derogatory slogans targeting the dictator are surfacing. The first instances of arrests are coming to light.

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“Putin is a murderer”, “No to war”, “Freedom for Russia”, “Peace in Ukraine”, “Navalny” - these are just a handful of slogans adorning the ballots. Russians are also penning numerous insults aimed at Vladimir Putin, who is today expected to proclaim himself President of Russia once more.

Uniting at noon against the dictator

The "Noon Against Putin" movement is gaining momentum in Russia. The opposition media's call was clear: "Arrive at the polling station at precisely 12:00 p.m., join the queue, and vote for anyone but Putin."

Tens of thousands began flocking to the polling stations minutes before the event's official commencement. Images and footage from Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Rostov showed significant gatherings. For instance, around 100 individuals assembled outside polling station No. 2160 near Moscow State University, with a National Guard vehicle parked nearby.

In St. Petersburg, as in Moscow, large queues formed at various polling stations around noon. Images captured by Agenstwo.Nowosti depicted gatherings in front of three election commissions.

Russians abroad are also engaging in the initiative. In Belgrade, Serbia, the queue to vote stretched over half a mile.

Similarly long lines were observed at the polling station in Lithuania's capital and in Dubai.

In Tbilisi, the lead singer of the "Pornofilmy" band performed "This Will Pass" at a protest against Putin. Russians in Georgia found themselves unable to vote due to the absence of a Russian consulate in the country.

Additionally, a significant number of Russians are deliberately spoiling their ballots, many featuring anti-war sentiments or the name of Navalny - the opposition leader assassinated by the Kremlin regime. Alexei Navalny, seen as Putin's foremost adversary and a threat to his presidency, exposed several corruption scandals tied to the Kremlin. Tens of thousands mourned the opposition figure at his funeral, many risking their freedom to do so.

Initial arrests reported in Russia

According to reports from the Astra and OVD-Info Telegram channels, at least 20 individuals were detained in Kazan. The arrests were linked to alleged involvement in the anti-Putin movement.

The "Groza Kazan" channel has reported police measures preventing students from voting, advising them to return to polling stations "in two or three hours".

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