Watch: Russian City of Ufa Witnesses Protest Over Arrested Activist

In the capital of Russia’s Bashkortostan region, supporters of an imprisoned rights activist held a protest on Friday, and media sources said that police arrested at least seven individuals during the demonstration.

In defiance of the region’s head, Radiy Khabirov, who has cautioned “extremists,” hundreds of people gathered in Ufa. An source that only released content in Russian showed police using a loudspeaker to threaten individuals with arrest if they attended a meeting.

On camera, a lady was being dragged away by police in the face of protests from onlookers. In the southern Ural mountains, close to the boundary between Europe and Asia, police formed a human chain of arms to make room for a bus transporting detainees. The Russian Federation is made up of more than 80 republics and territories.

Reuters reports that this was the first demonstration in the regional capital this week in favor of minority rights activist Fail Alsynov, who was sentenced to four years in a prison colony on Wednesday for inciting ethnic hate, a charge he has rejected.

Many of the ethnic Bashkir people in the area see Alsynov, 37, as a hero for his advocacy of their rights, language, and culture. In 2020, he spearheaded successful demonstrations to stop mining from beginning on a mountaintop that the Bashkir people revere.

“This is not our war,” Alsynov said last year in opposition to the enlistment of ethnic Bashkirs in the Russian military in Ukraine. Since the beginning of the conflict, public demonstrations have become more unusual in Russia due to the possibility of being arrested. Given that President Vladimir Putin is seeking reelection to a six-year term in March, the timing is even more delicate.

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