During New Year’s celebrations in the centre of St. Petersburg, local police were conducting a “preventive raid” during which almost 2,000 people “from neighbouring countries” have been detained, local media outlet Fontanka reports, citing the regional Ministry of Internal Affairs press office.
“Following an inspection, multiple violations of migration legislation had been discovered, in relation to which administrative measures were taken,” the police say in a statement.
It is noted that the passages to the Palace Square in the centre of the city were restricted “to ensure people’s safety and prevent a stampede and other potential incidents”; police officers were also “able to prevent over a dozen attempts to use pyrotechnics”.
Photo: Andrey Bok for Paper
Local media outlet Paper reports that people were being detained in the centre for not having registration on them as well as during attempts to enter the Palace Square, the passages to which were “suddenly” shut down.
The detainees were put on buses. According to the outlet, one of the buses had almost 50 people in it.
Paper also reports that at least two men were detained with the use of force byt the police after they had set off firecrackers near the square. One of them was put on the ground.
In Moscow, the entries to the Red Square, Revolution Square, and Manege Square were restricted during the New Year’s night. People were being detained in the capital, too. Police officers detained passers-by and prohibited citizens from “standing in one place for too long”, media outlet Sota reports. Among the detainees, there were migrants, Sota notes.
According to Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, over 66,000 law enforcement agents were on duty during the New Year’s night all over Russia, which is why no incidents took place during the celebrations.