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Russian Police Clash with Protestors in Republic of Bashkiria over Activist’s Conviction

ReutersRussian police at a protest in the republic of Bashkiria

NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 16:49

Hundreds of demonstrators protested again today in Bashkiria, an autonomous republic in southern Russia, against the conviction of activist Fail Alsynov. There were also protests against the trial against the activist on Monday and Wednesday. It is the largest outbreak of social unrest since the start of the war in Ukraine.

The judge sentenced Alsynov to four years in prison on Wednesday for “incitement to ethnic hatred” and “discrediting the Russian army.” Then there were skirmishes between thousands of demonstrators and the police in the town of Bajmak, near the border with Kazakhstan. Twenty people were arrested and twenty people were injured.

Today, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the center of Ufa, the capital of the republic, more than 400 kilometers north of Bajmak. At least seven of the demonstrators have now been arrested, local media report.

Below are images of the protests:

Protest in southern Russia after arrest of activist

The Russian Sota Vision, which describes itself as an independent news medium, shared images of the police calling on demonstrators to stay away. Officers would announce via a megaphone that anyone participating in this “unauthorized meeting” would be arrested. Popular social media accounts that previously reported on the protests are also suddenly no longer accessible.

‘Fear of separatism’

The Kremlin is downplaying the protests. According to a spokesperson for President Putin, these are only small-scale local incidents.

“Putin and those around him are traumatized by the collapse of the Soviet Union and fear that the same fate awaits Russia,” Abbas Gallyamov, an exiled ethnic Bashkir and former speechwriter for President Putin, said this week. The New York Times. According to him, the Kremlin is afraid of nationalism and separatism.

Russia correspondent Geert Groot Koerkamp:

“These are the largest protests in Russia in the last two years. Demonstrations have become virtually impossible in Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine and any public expression of criticism of anything is nipped in the bud.

But in Bashkiria things went up a storm; anger over Alsynov’s conviction overcame fear of prosecution. This protest is not specifically aimed at Russian actions in Ukraine. But dissatisfaction about this is undeniably increasing.”

The 37-year-old activist Alsynov is much loved by many ethnic Bashkir people. He is seen as a hero because he is committed to preserving their language, culture and rights.

Last year he spoke out on social media against the recruitment of Bashkirs for the war in Ukraine. “This is not our war, because there is no fighting in Russia,” he wrote. Alsynov denies the accusations against him.

2024-01-19 15:49:53
#Ongoing #protests #Russia #conviction #activist #denounced #war

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