More than a dozen patrol officers have been fired in Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia for failing to disperse protesters rallying against a controversial land swap deal.
The Ingush population took to the streets this week to demand their governor’s resignation and a public vote on the border agreement signed last fall with the neighboring republic of Chechnya. What started as a peaceful protest of more than 10,000 had turned violent by Wednesday morning, with videos showing young men throwing folding chairs and iron fences at armored police.
Nineteen members of a police battalion were dismissed and the battalion disbanded for siding with protesters, Kaloy Akhilgov, the Ingush governor’s lawyer and former spokesman, told the MBKh news website Friday.
“It all happened because they [patrol officers] failed to carry out orders to disperse the protesters,” Akhilgov was quoted as saying.
He credited the dismissed officers for preventing casualties during rallies in the Ingush administrative center of Magas.
The Kremlin said it was monitoring the unfolding events on the ground.