Police Disperse Demonstrators Protesting Killing of Website Owner

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 33

Police in Ingushetia’s largest city, Nazran, forcefully broke up an anti-government protest on September 2, two days after police shot dead Magomed Yevloev, owner of the opposition Ingushetiya.ru website. Reuters reported that the protest started during the funeral of Yevloev, who died after being shot while in police custody. The news agency quoted Magomed Mutsolgov of the Ingushetia-based human rights group Mashr as saying police had arrived at around 5:30 a.m. local time to disperse a crowd of around 50 men who had been sleeping in Nazran’s main square. Police and military vehicles were then deployed to block access to the main square, Mutsolgov told Reuters. Protest organizers later vowed to try and force their way back into the square on September 2. However, an Ingushetia Interior Ministry press official denied the police had forced the demonstrators to leave and insisted they had left peacefully. “We didn’t even have to make any arrests,” Reuters quoted the official as saying.

Vremya Novostei on September 3 quoted demonstrators as saying that their protest was broken up by OMON riot police who shot and wounded several people. However, the newspaper quoted Ingushetia’s Interior Ministry and prosecutor’s office as saying that police neither fired weapons nor used force, and that the demonstrators themselves ended their protest after the police persuaded them to do so. Still, Vremya Novostei reported that on the evening of September 2, opposition leaders had to talk relatives and friends of Yevloev out of trying to use force to retake the square where they had held their demonstration, which was now occupied by riot police.

Ingushetiya.ru reported September 2 that the demonstrators, in addition to demanding an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Magomed Yevloev’s death and the resignation of Ingushetia’s leadership, also demanded that Ingushetia’s former president, Ruslan Aushev, be brought back to replace Murat Zyazikov, the republic’s incumbent president, who has been the main target of the opposition and Ingushetiya.ru.

Newsru.com on September 3 quoted opposition leader Magomed Khazbiev as saying that several hundred people held a demonstration in the Ingush city of Malgobek that day in honor of Magomed Yevloev. According to Khazbiev, their main demands were the resignation of the republic’s leadership and an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Yevloev’s death. However, the website quoted other opposition leaders as saying that only several dozen people took part in the demonstration in Malgobek and that it lasted only a short time. These opposition leaders said that Magomed Yevloev’s father, Yakha Yevloev, called on those gathered not to engage in any protest actions while the mourning period for his son was ongoing. Yakha Yevloev also thanked the protesters for their support and vowed that Zyazikov and Ingush Interior Minister Musa Medov would be made to answer for his son’s murder, declaring a blood feud with both men. Newsru.com reported that the demonstrators then dispersed at Yakha Yevloev’s request.