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Eight Detained At Unsanctioned Protest In Russia's Bashkortostan

Some 700 protesters rallied on September 21 to demand Rustem Khamitov's resignation.

UFA, Russia -- Police in Ufa, the capital of Russia's Republic of Bashkortostan, have detained eight activists at a protest against the head of the regional administration, Rustem Khamitov.

Some 700 protesters joined the unsanctioned protest on September 21 to demand Khamitov's resignation.

They included activists from groups promoting Bashkir language and culture, environmental preservation, human rights, and so-called "failed homeowners" who made down payments years ago on apartments that were never completed.

The protesters held posters calling for Khamitov to be brought to accountability for various issues --including what they called the "collapse of Bashkortostan's economy," discrimination of the Bashkir language, worsening living standards, deteriorating inter-ethnic relations, and environmental problems.

Those who were detained included the protest organizer and opposition journalist Ramil Rakhmatov, activist Amir Tuigunov, and Valiakhmet Badretdinov, the executive director of a nongovernmental group called Congress of the Bashkir People.

Authorities told the detainees that they faced administrative fines for taking part in an unsanctioned public gathering.

It was the second unsanctioned demonstration in less than a week in Ufa.

On September 16, at least 1,000 protesters demanded the reinstatement of mandatory Bashkir-language classes at schools across Bashkortostan.