The FINANCIAL — Hundreds of people have held a demonstration in Kazan, the capital of Russia’s Tatarstan region, to protest against what organizers described as the “lawlessness” of the authorities.
The participants expressed concern about a wide range of issues, including government plans to build a waste incineration plant in Tatarstan, the status of the Tatar language, and the rights of those they believe have been illegally convicted, the organizers said.
The December 9 rally at the Millennium Square, organized by opposition supporters and ordinary citizens, was sanctioned by city authorities, local media reported.
Ruslan Zinatullin, the regional head of the opposition Yabloko party; Elvira Dmitriyeva, the head of the campaign office of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny in Kazan; and Nadezhda Shakirova, the head of Tatarstan’s Association of Illegally Convicted People were among leading activists who addressed the rally.
Among other demands, protesters called on the Russian government to drop plans to build a waste incineration plant in Tatarstan, to end of irradiation of foodstuffs, and to make the Tatar language an official language in all spheres in the region.
They also demanded the government establish a Tatar national university.
Tatar — along with Russian — is a state language in Tatarstan.
Last year, Tatar activists had called on Moscow to make Tatar-language classes mandatory at schools in Tatarstan and demanded that all government officials in the region must be fluent in Tatar.
An RFE/RL correspondent in Kazan said some 500 people participated in the Kazan rally.
With reporting by kazanreporter.ru and idelreal.org