Nationalist Activists Detained Ahead Of Banned 'Russian March'

MOSCOW -- Police in the Russian capital have detained nationalist activists ahead of an unsanctioned public event known as the Russian March that has been banned since 2019.

Avtozak Live online news channel reported on November 4 that at least 18 people, including reporters with the Associated Press, RBK, and Izvestia, were detained by police at a subway station in Moscow.

According to the channel, police are patrolling Barrikadnaya subway station, where the participants in the Russian March were scheduled to meet.

Nationalist groups announced earlier that they planned to hold demonstrations in Moscow and a handful of other Russian cities, as the country marks the annual National Unity Day holiday.

The Moscow city prosecutor's office warned residents of the Russian capital of possible repercussions for holding and taking part in unsanctioned public events.

On November 3, one of the organizers of the rally in Moscow, Nikita Zaitsev, was arrested and sentenced to 10 days in jail on a charge of disobeying the police.

The holiday, held on November 4, was established in 2005 by President Vladimir Putin as a replacement for Soviet-era commemorations of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

Russian officials have tried to promote the holiday, which formally marks a battlefield victory over Polish forces in 1612, as a way to bolster patriotism.

Right-wing, nationalist, and monarchist groups have used the day to stage xenophobic and anti-immigrant marches, and past holidays have seen scuffles between protesters and riot police.

Past demonstrations have also failed to garner much turnout.

In 2019, Moscow, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin for the first time refused to issue a permit to organizers of the Russian March.