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Picketers In Siberia Demand Independent TV Channel Back On Air

TOMSK, Russia -- A series of single-person protests are being held in western Siberian city of Tomsk, with demonstrators calling for an independent regional television station to be allowed to resume terrestrial broadcasts.

Up to 15 individual protesters gathered January 9 outside the regional administration building holding posters saying "Tomsk residents for TV2."

Each of the demonstrators stood at least 30 meters from each other in compliance with Russian law on single-person protests, one of the few forms of protests still allowed in the country.

Such single protests have been held in Tomsk since January 5.

Tomsk TV-2 ended terrestrial programming on January 1 after a local broadcasting center canceled its contract.

Courts rejected repeated appeals by TV-2, which argued the cancelation was illegal.

The station is now available only via cable, which is not accessible to all Tomsk residents.

Tomsk TV-2 is an award-winning regional channel known for its editorial independence.

Staff say the decision to cut off terrestrial broadcasts was politically motivated.