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Siberian Court Bans Anti-Tuleyev Rally Following Deadly Mall Fire


Seven people have been arrested over the March 25 fire.
Seven people have been arrested over the March 25 fire.

KEMEROVO, Russia -- The Kemerovo Regional Court in Siberia has overruled a lower court's decision to allow a rally against former regional Governor Aman Tuleyev, who resigned over a deadly shopping-mall fire earlier this month.

The aim of the rally, scheduled for April 21, was to protest Tuleyev's becoming the Russian region's parliamentary speaker just days after his resignation.

The regional court's decision on April 20 came a day after Kemerovo city's Central District Court found the city's April 18 refusal to allow the rally was illegal.

Tuleyev also urged the organizers of the rally to move the protest from April 21 to another day, saying that several victims of the fire will be buried on that day.

"I consider that it is blasphemous [to rally on the day of the burials] and, from the humane point of view, it must not be done," Tuleyev's statement said.

Earlier on April 20, the Investigative Committee said that forensic examinations and DNA analysis showed that 60 people were killed in the blaze on March 25.

Earlier official statements said that 64 people, including 41 children, had died in the fire.

The Investigative Committee did not explain in detail how the higher figure had been determined earlier, and also did not say how many of the deceased were children.

Residents, relatives of victims, and Russians nationwide blamed corruption and government negligence for the high casualty toll in blaze.

Investigators said days after the fire that blocked fire exits, an alarm system that was shut down, and "glaring violations" of safety rules before the blaze exacerbated its human toll.

Seven people have been arrested in the case, including the head of the local building inspection agency and an executive with the firm that owns the shopping mall.

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