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Police Break Up Protest In Crimea Over Beach Access

Police in Russia-controlled Crimea have forcibly broken up a protest by locals upset over amusement rides being set up near the shores of the Black Sea that they say obstruct access to the beach.

Among those hauled away at the June 4 gathering in the city of Alushta, some 50 kilometers from Crimea’s capital, Simferopol, was local lawmaker Pavel Stepanchenko, who resisted police officers’ demands to halt what they called an “unsanctioned” public meeting.

The officers dragged away Stepanchenko and other protesters who stepped in to defend him amid chants of “shame” from the crowd of protesters that numbered in the dozens.

The crowed also reportedly yelled criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ruling United Russia party and called the police officers “Banderovtsy,” which in Russia -- including on state-run television -- is used as a derogatory term to describe Ukrainian nationalists.

Stepanchenko managed to get away, while three other demonstrators were reportedly detained and charged with minor offenses, including participating in an unsanctioned rally and resisting police.

Russia forcibly annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 following its secretive military seizure of the peninsula after pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country amid mass protests against his government.

With reporting by
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