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Russia protest: Crowds clash with riot police as activist jailed

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Social media footage showed supporters of Fail Alsynov clashing with police – some throwing snowballs – near the court in the town of Baymak.

Alsynov was jailed for inciting ethnic hatred, which he denies.

Large protests in Russia are extremely rare because of the risk of arrest.

Some reports say there are a few thousand people at the demonstration, which has been going on for several days in temperatures of around -20C, and there are reports of several injured.

Protesters are seen shouting their support for Alsynov, and there are reports that some tried to block the courthouse entrance after the sentence was announced.

Tear gas was reportedly fired and protesters were seen throwing snowballs at ranks of police behind riot shields.

The activist is accused of insulting migrants at a demonstration against plans to mine for gold, but supporters said it was delayed revenge for his activism in preventing soda mining in what locals consider a sacred place.

But he insists the words he used in the Bashkir language mean “poor people” and were mistranslated into Russian. He intends to appeal against the verdict.

Alsynov has also in the past criticised military mobilisation in the region as “genocide” of the Bashkir people, a Turkic race closely related to the Tatars which inhabits the southern Ural mountains.

There have been long-running claims that a disproportionately high number of ethnic minorities in Russia are being sent to fight in Ukraine.

Alsynov was a leader of Bashkort, a grassroots movement set up to preserve the ethnic identity of the Bashkirs which was banned as extremist in 2020.

BBC NEWS