ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — About 200 people held an anti-war demonstration in St. Petersburg on Sunday, while about 30 people joined a similar march in Moscow to call for Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine and stay out of the fighting in Syria.
Police detained about 10 of the protesters in Moscow and two in St. Petersburg, where participants walked through the city holding blue and yellow balloons, the colors of the Ukrainian flag.
Those detained in St. Petersburg were a woman who tried to unfold an anti-war poster and a man who draped a Ukrainian flag around his shoulders. Police said only balloons and ribbons were allowed.
The man detained, 43-year-old history teacher Oleg Ilyin, said he joined the march because he was "for peace in Ukraine and wanted the war there to stop."
Fighting in eastern Ukraine between government troops and Russia-backed separatists has killed more than 8,000 people since it began in April 2014.
"We're against the war in Ukraine and Syria. We're against getting into any wars," said Konstantin Yershov, an opposition leader who was among the organizers of the Peace March in St. Petersburg.
The demonstrators drew counter-protests from Russians who expressed support for Kremlin policy in Ukraine and accused the U.S. of instigating the conflict.