New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called upon Russia to stop police from detaining peaceful protesters after more than 100 demonstrators were arrested at rallies over the weekend.
HRW's Europe and Central Asia director Hugh Williamson said the weekend demonstrations "were clearly peaceful" and that "activists did nothing to provoke the police or necessitate police interference."
Williamson said it was now a habit that "Russian police move in on peaceful protesters and drag them off."
On March 17, police in Russia's southern Krasnodar region arrested more than 20 people and held them for several hours for an environmental protest.
The following day, police in Moscow arrested nearly 100 people near Moscow's TV tower. They were demonstrating against a broadcast with a negative portrayal of antigovernment protesters.
Based on AFP reports