Russia arrests more than 700 people as protests continue against Putin's military mobilisation order

'There is an eruption of anger' within Russia towards President Vladimir Putin's military moblisation order - reports ITV News correspondent Sejal Karia.

Russian police moved quickly on Saturday to disperse peaceful protests against President Vladimir Putin's military mobilisation order, arresting hundreds, including some children, in several cities across the country.

More than 700 people were detained by police, including over 300 in Moscow and around 150 in St Petersburg, according to OVD-Info - an independent website which monitors political arrests in Russia.

According to its analysis some of the arrested individuals were minors.

The demonstrations mirrored protests which followed immediately after the Russian president signed a decree, last Wednesday, ordering the conscription of some 300,000 reservists.

Russia's Defense Ministry has said IT workers, bankers and journalists will be exempt from being called up to fight on this occasion, but it has not ruled out further troop mobilisations in the future.

Most Russian men aged between 18 and 65 are automatically counted as reservists.

On Saturday, police deployed in force throughout cities where protests were scheduled by opposition group Vesna and supporters of jailed opposition leader, Alexei Navalny.

They moved quickly to arrest demonstrators, most of them young people, before any protests could be held.

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In Moscow, a heavy contingent of police roamed a downtown area, where a protest was planned, under pouring rain and checked the IDs of those in the area.

Officers rounded up residents they deemed suspicious and later distributed call-up summons to the men who were arrested.

One young woman climbed on a bench and shouted “we aren't cannon fodder!” before police took her away.

Just outside Moscow's Red Square, police were seen detaining a man in a park and whisking him away as others yelled “shame!”.

Russian police moved quickly to disperse peaceful protests held across the country. Credit: AP

Before being rounded up in the port city of St Petersburg, a small group of demonstrators managed to briefly march along the main Nevsky avenue, shouting “Putin into the trenches!”.

In the city of Novosibirsk, in eastern Siberia, over 70 people were arrested after singing an innocuous Soviet-era song praising peace.

People who tried to hold individual pickets - which are allowed under Russian law - were also detained.

The quick police action followed the dispersal of Wednesday’s protests, when more than 1,300 people were detained in Moscow, St Petersburg and other Russian cities.

On Saturday, Putin signed a hastily approved bill, which toughens the punishment for soldiers who disobey officers’ orders, desert or surrender to the enemy.