NewsRallying Russian streets: Thousands protest awaiting verdict in local activist's trial

Rallying Russian streets: Thousands protest awaiting verdict in local activist's trial

Protests in Bashkiria after the arrest of local activist Fail Alsynov.
Protests in Bashkiria after the arrest of local activist Fail Alsynov.
Images source: © X | @Bielsat_pl

11:50 AM EST, January 15, 2024

The current situation in the Baymak town, located in the autonomous republic of Bashkortostan in Russia's south near the Kazakhstan border, has been meticulously reported by Descriptions of events and video footage are being shared online through Vottak TV and the Kushtau Bayram channel.

The videos highlight a significant crowd of protesters, unusual for Russia. Why did they assemble, given that usually similar assemblies in the country are quickly quelled? The arrest of local activist, Fail Alsynov seems to be the trigger.

In Bashkiria, Russians form the significant ethnic group holding about 36 percent, yet they do not constitute the majority. The majority are Bashkirs or Turkic people with 36 percent and Tatars with 24 percent. Alsynov, who has been arrested, belongs to this section of the populace.

Cognizant of the nature and identity of Kushtau Mountain that's being exploited for limestone deposits, Alsynov voiced his protest. He was heading the "Bashkort" organization, demanding Bashkiria sovereignty. However, "Bashkort" was labeled as an extremist organization in 2020, putting Alsynov under the Russian authorities' inspection.

Local activist's arrest in Russia triggers protests

Alsynov was arrested for using the slogan "Bez kara chałyk" which translates from Bashkir as "We are black people". It alludes to the Bashkirs' history and the derogatory terms Russians used against them. Alsynov has been accused of extremism and instigating hatred and could face, according to Belsat reports, up to four years in a relatively easier regimen penal colony.

Alsynov's trial is proceeding behind closed doors, with a verdict anticipated on January 15. This event seems to have gathered several protesters, who are echoing their solidarity for their compatriot. They have congregated outside the courthouse and have stopped their cars in the middle of the road, thus blocking traffic, while chanting "Bez kara chałyk".

The exact number of protestors is still unknown but, according to local media, an estimated 2,500-5,000 are participating. It is yet to be known if the protestors will face any consequences for their uprising, and the same is true for Fail Alsynov's verdict.

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