Despite Russian police repression, protests in Bashkortostan are growing and moving towards the regional capital

Russia has detained many people

Hundreds of supporters of a jailed human rights activist protested in the Russian republic’s capital on Friday Bashkortostan And police detained at least seven people, a Russian media outlet reported from the scene.

meeting in the city of ufa Happened in defiance of the area leader, radi khabirovWho warned of strict action against those considered extremists and traitors.

Medium in Russian SOTA Vision A video was posted showing police warning people over loudspeaker that they would be arrested if they participated in an unauthorized gathering.

Russia has detained many people

In this, a woman is shown being taken away by the police despite the protests of the people nearby. Police linked arms to form a human chain to clear the way for the bus carrying the detainees, while onlookers shouted “Shame!”

Bashkortostan, in the mountains southern uralNear the border between Europe and Asia, it is one of the more than 80 republics and territories that make up the Russian Federation.

Russia has detained many people

This was the third protest this week, but the first in the regional capital in support of a minority rights activist failed alsinovwas sentenced to four years in prison on Wednesday on charges of inciting racial hatred, which he denies.

Alseynov, 37, is considered a hero by many members of the region’s ethnic Bashkir people for campaigning for their language, culture and rights. He led successful protests in 2020 to prevent mining operations from beginning on a hill that the Bashkir people consider sacred.

Officers guard an intersection after a protest against the court verdict of a prominent human rights activist in the city of Ufa in the Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia, on January 19, 2024. Reuters/Stringer

Last year he spoke out against the recruitment of ethnic Bashkirs to fight for Russia in Ukraine, saying, “This is not our war.”

Public protests are rare in Russia, especially since the beginning of the war, given the risk of arrest. The timing is even more delicate as President Vladimir Putin will run for a new six-year term in March.

Security forces stand near trucks following a protest against the court verdict of a prominent human rights activist in the city of Ufa in Russia’s Republic of Bashkortostan on January 19, 2024. Reuters/Stringer

Alseynov was accused of insulting migrant workers in an April 2023 speech he gave at a protest against gold mining plans in Bashkortostan, which is located in Russia’s southern Ural Mountains near the border between Europe and Russia. Asia.

This is what his supporters said The case against him was filed to avenge his role in the protests several years ago.In which activists successfully blocked mining plans on a hill that local people consider a sacred site.

“Thank you very much to everyone who came to support me. I will never forget. I do not accept my crime. I always fought for justice, for my people, for my republic” Alseynov told a journalist from the online media outlet rusnews Then decide.

Video posted on social media shows Hundreds of people gathered near the court in the small town of Bemak, 1,380 kilometers east of Moscow. Some reports state that they were several thousand,

As police advanced, many protesters threw snowballs at officers, on a -20°C day.

Later, the state press reported open a criminal investigation Due to clashes with security forces.

Large protests are extremely rare in Russia as state authorities risk arrest for any gathering deemed unauthorized. Thousands of people have been detained in the last two years for protesting against the military operation in Ukraine.

(With information from Reuters)

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