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Protesters Call For Resignation Of Kremlin-Appointed Head Of Bashkortostan

Protesters rally against regional leader Rustem Khamitov in Ufa on July 20.

UFA, Russia -- Hundreds of people have protested in the Republic of Bashkortostan, demanding the resignation of the Kremlin-appointed official who has led the Russian region on the Volga River since 2010.

Protesters at the July 20 demonstration in Bashkortostan's capital, Ufa, said that regional leader Rustem Khamitov has no support among the populace.

Demonstrators held signs saying "We're fed up!" and lamenting what they said was the closure of schools, a high mortality rate among children, poor health care, and other problems.

One sign read, "1,000 schools closed in seven years," another: "Khamitov's seven years -- first place in children's death rate."

The protest was organized by the Bashkir People's Congress, a nongovernmental organization.

Khamitov, 62, was appointed to head Bashkortostan shortly after his predecessor, longtime leader Murtaza Rakhimov, resigned amid accusations of corruption in July 2010.