Police have taken a lot of heat over snowballs lately.
The arrest of Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader allegedly poisoned by the KGB last year, has prompted protests of thousands throughout the country.
Whereas recent demonstrations in Hong Kong as well as the US saw protesters using tools such as umbrellas to repel pepper spray or heat-proof gloves able to handle hot canisters of tear gas, those in Russia over the weekend employed an even more resourceful defense: snowballs.
Footage captured in Moscow on Saturday saw hoards of protesters hurling snowballs at riot police while cheering the assault, the Guardian reports.
Law enforcement reportedly arrested more than 1,870 involved in rallies across Russia.
Meanwhile in the UK, police are tracking a recent spike in “reports relating to snowballs being thrown” at unwilling snow-fight participants, following substantial snowfall in the region.
Those caught causing a frosty fracas could be fined up to 200 pounds sterling (about $275), according to the Sun, for blatantly defying pandemic lockdown restrictions.
Earlier this month, officers in Shropshire told fellow residents that being caught outside the home without “justifiable reason … is likely to result in a £200 Fixed Penalty Notice,” they wrote in a tweet that was later removed.
“Enjoy the snow today but please don’t involve other people, particularly more vulnerable residents,” the Surrey Police tweeted on Sunday.
Some on social media laughed off the alarm. “Imagine being that person that actually phones the police about people/kids having fun sledging and having snowball fights to help lift spirits and their mental health? wow!,” @footymum73 responded.
Cops in Merton, a k a, “that grumpy relative,” issued a similar warning via Twitter.
“With the snow coming down the way it is, please drive carefully. And If you’re going to have a snowball fight, please stick to your bubbles,” they wrote on Jan. 24, alongside a GIF from “Groundhog Day,” featuring a snow-dusted Bill Murray delivering the line “What blizzard? It’s a couple of flakes.”
Seemingly thrilled with long-awaited snowfall last weekend, Wiltshire Police inspector Louis McCoy also urged locals to mind their social distance despite the tempting snowfall.
“I don’t want to be dealing with sledgers and snowball fights. There’s still a lockdown on. Think about it, don’t be tempted,” said McCoy.