Anti-Occupation Protest Violently Dispersed

Ukraine says Russian forces used gunfire, stun grenades in Kherson
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2022 6:00 PM CDT

Russian forces violently dispersed a protest Monday in Kherson, a southern Ukraine city occupied early in the invasion, Ukrainian authorities say. Hundreds of people can be seen running away and heavy gunfire can be heard in video from the city's Freedom Square. "Russian security forces ran up, started throwing stun grenades into the crowd and shooting," the Ukrainian armed forces' press service said in a statement, per Reuters.

Ukrainian authorities say at least one person was injured. Kherson fell to Russian forces in the first week of the invasion, and residents have been holding regular protests against the occupation, Al Jazeera reports. Ukrainian authorities have accused Russian forces of arresting hundreds of people in the region for protesting the occupation. Moscow hasn't commented on Monday's incident. BuzzFeed notes that thousands of people attended earlier protests in Kherson, which is in a mainly Russian-speaking region that hadn't seen massive pro-Ukraine protests in the years before the invasion.

The Russian troops appeared to use tear gas on the crowd, a Wall Street Journal correspondent tweeted. That would be a war crime, Yaroslav Trofimov reported, adding that the 1925 Geneva protocol bars military forces from employing riot control gas. Russia signed onto that agreement, per the US State Department. (Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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