NOVOSIBIRSK, Russia -- A small group of protesters from Russia's Kemerovo region in Siberia rallied in the capital of the neighboring Novosibirsk region on November 3, demanding the resignation of longtime Kemerovo governor Aman Tuleyev.
Participants told RFE/RL that Kemerovo authorities repeatedly refused to grant them permission to stage the demonstration, prompting them to move the location of their protest to a park in the city of Novosibirsk instead.
The demonstrators say Tuleyev, who has governed Kemerovo since 1997, must step down because he was opening new open-pit mines across the coal-rich Siberian region "with numerous violations of regulations."
Protesters claimed that the new mines were being illegally opened on agricultural land.
The powerful explosives used in the surface-mining process damage nearby buildings, while the coal dust resulting from the blasts affects agricultural land, protesters said.
Protesters also told RFE/RL that their demonstration was filmed by unknown men.
The protesters later marched to the headquarters of the presidential envoy to the Siberian Federal District in Novosibirsk and handed him a petition calling for Tuleyev's resignation.
Earlier in October, The Kemerovo Regional Prosecutor’s office told RFE/RL that administrative probes were launched into alleged "abuse of authority" by authorities in Kemerovo's Novokuznetsk District who allowed coal companies to start surface mining on agricultural lands.