Thousands Rally In Russia's Komi Republic Against New Landfill

SYKTYVKAR, Russia -- Some 7,000 demonstrators have rallied in Russia's northwestern Komi Republic against the construction of a new landfill in the neighboring Arkhangelsk region.

The demonstrators gathered in Michurin Park in the Komi capital, Syktyvkar, on June 2, protesting what they called Moscow’s "colonial politics" and the ongoing construction of the garbage dump in the town of Shiyes, near Arkhangelsk.

Local authorities in Arkhangelsk have said that some 10.5 million tons of garbage are to be transferred to the landfill from Moscow in the next 20 years.

An activist from the Arkhangelsk region, Svetlana Babenko, attended the rallies in Syktyvkar, where she said that protesters in Shiyes are being persecuted and several people were hospitalized after they were beaten by police.

Babenko said many protesters face administrative fines and three protesters face criminal charges.

The demonstrators adopted a resolution calling for a referendum in the Komi Republic on banning the transfer of garbage from Russia's other regions and stop the construction of the Shiyes landfill.The construction of the new landfill near Arkhangelsk started in July, and protests began a month later.

Similar rallies have been held in recent months in other Russian cities and towns.

Nationwide rallies against landfills took place in 30 regions across Russia on February 3.