Anti-war protesters in Russia face jail time for ‘petty hooliganism’ | USA TODAY

Thousands of anti-war protesters are being arrested in Russia. They face charges which can carry a sentence of up to 7 years in prison.

RELATED: Major Ukrainian cities face siege from Russian invasion

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sparked protests around the globe, including in Russia where cities have become flooded with angry citizens who denounce President Vladimir Putin’s decision to go to war. But unlike in other countries, thousands of Russians have been plucked from the street by police.

Russia’s constitution guarantees freedom of “ideas and speech.” Despite this, there seems to be one inevitability for Russian citizens who choose to loudly express their grievances on the streets. Jail.

The constitution guarantees freedom of speech for its citizens, but a patchwork of laws in the country’s criminal and administrative codes severely limit the public’s right to assembly and engage in certain kinds of speech, especially political speech critical of the Kremlin.

Russian media reported that hundreds of anti-war protesters in Moscow last week were charged with several infractions of the Russian administrative code, which includes offenses like participation in an unsanctioned rally — application for a special permit is required to hold large demonstrations—and“petty hooliganism.” The Russian code’s definition of “petty hooliganism” includes “open disrespect of the public accompanied by foul language in public places.”

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