MOSCOW, March 15 (RIA Novosti) – Police said several protesters were detained at a rally in central Moscow Saturday against Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, a day ahead of the upcoming vote in the autonomous region of Crimea.
Protesters, carrying Russian and Ukrainian flags, chanted “Ukraine, We Are With You” and “No to War.” Activists who were detained carried Nazi flags, police said.
Nazi propaganda is banned in Russia and is punishable by a fine of up to 2,000 rubles ($54) or 15 days in jail.
Police said some 3,000 people gathered for the so-called March of Peace in the Russian capital, while media reports put the figure at 30,000.
Organizers earlier said up to 50,000 people were expected to attend the rally.
Another 15,000 people gathered for a rival rally in downtown Moscow in support of Crimea and against fascism.
The Crimean parliament declared independence Tuesday ahead of a popular vote Sunday on seceding from Ukraine and becoming part of Russia.
Authorities in Kiev and international leaders have condemned the referendum as illegitimate and accused Moscow of fomenting unrest in order to annex Crimea.