Several hundred people have demonstrated in Moscow against Russia’s military campaign in Syria, with at least one protester reportedly arrested by police.
The rally was mainly carried out by people in their 50s and 60s in a small park in central Moscow on October 17 amid tight security, with the authorities deploying a strong security cordon.
The demonstrators oppose Moscow’s air strikes, which began on September 30 against fighters who oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Moscow claims that the strikes are only targeting Islamic State (IS) militants.
But there is growing evidence that Russia has mostly been attacking moderate anti-Assad forces that are supported by the West and that also are fighting against IS militants and AL-Qaeda-linked fighters from the Al-Nusra Front.
A 42-year-old protest organizer, Svetlana Kravietz, said Russia has many problems of its own to solve, including a serious economic crisis, and that “war is not what we need in our country.”
She said she believes the air strikes are part of a hidden Moscow agenda.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on October 17 that Russia is fighting for its national interests in Syria, not in order to prop up Assad’s embattled regime.