Police and protesters clash outside Bashkortostan court as local activist sentenced

Several criminal cases were opened following clashes between police and protesters in Russia’s Bashkortostan region on Wednesday as several thousand people gathered outside a court in the city of Baymak for the sentencing of a local activist on trial for inciting racial hatred, Telegram channel RusNews reported.

Fail Alsynov, the former leader of a now-dissolved group that promoted Bashkir language and culture, was sentenced to four years after being found guilty of making statements “containing negative assessments about Caucasian, Central Asian and Armenian ethnic groups”. Alsynov denied the charges and said that his remarks had been mistranslated from Bashkir into Russian.

Following the sentencing, police began detaining protesters and used tear gas to disperse Alsynov’s supporters from outside the court, SOTAvision reported, adding that riot police beat protesters with batons and threw smoke bombs into the crowd, leaving several injured.

In response protesters threw snow and ice at the police and several individuals were detained.

Police reportedly blocked roads leading to the courthouse and the authorities jammed the internet and blocked certain Telegram groups to prevent news of the clashes from spreading.

The only response on the part of Bashkortostan’s government to the days of protests has been to open criminal cases against protesters. Media in the republic have not been covering the protests, and the regional government has yet to comment on the unrest.

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