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Women in Dagestan and other regions protest mobilization ‘Our children are not fertilizer!’
On September 25, residents of Dagestan carried out several actions protesting mobilization, the largest of which was in Makhachkala. Starting around 3:00pm Moscow time residents, mostly women, gathered in the center of the city. The Telegram channel “Morning Dagestan,” which had more than 30,000 subscribers before the action, published a call to come out to a demonstration. By 4:00pm about 100 people had come out, reports Dagestan outlet Chernovik: “mothers and children gathered, and representatives of older generations, and youth.” Judging by witnesses’ videos, a few hundred people were at the protest in Makhachkala. They chanted “No to war!” “No to mobilization” and “Our children are not fertilizer!”
Protesting women clashed with police, arguing that Russia started the war. “Russia attacked Ukraine. We’re not blind,” they said. The women also asked that the police not disrupt their protest. An employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs had to run away from protestors.
The police carried out violent arrests in Makhachkala. Several men were beaten and brought to the internal affairs ministry. One officer beat a detainee in the face while others marched him by the arms. Women were also subject to violent arrest. Protestors tried to free arrested people, including people in police vehicles. They beat up police officers. By evening, additional police squads were brought in, and the National Guard arrived.
Protestors say the police used stun guns and pepper spray, and “twisted people’s limbs and pushed women around with particular cruelty,” reports independent media project OVD-Info. The police fired shots into the air. Apart from that, a man in civilian clothes opened fire into the air with a pistol (it’s unknown whether he was a protester or a law enforcement officer in civilian clothes).
According to human rights activists, among those arrested was the mother of a newborn. The phone of a journalist with Chernovik was confiscated twice, and Murad Muradov, a journalist with Kavkazsky Uzel, was arrested. An exact number of arrests is unknown. OVD-Info said that as of 8:30pm Moscow time five people had been arrested, but judging by video from the actions, the real number is higher.
Actions against the war and mobilization also took place in the village of Endirey, in Dagestan, on September 25.
Against the backdrop of protest in Dagestan, Sergey Melikov, the head of the region, announced that mistakes had been made at the beginning of the mobilization. “If it’s a fact that people were mobilized who were not on the list – including students, fathers with multiple young children, guys who’ve never held a rifle in their life – it should be corrected immediately. I know that such mistakes happened at the very beginning of the mobilization,” Melikov wrote on Telegram. The head of Dagestan urged residents whose rights have been violated during mobilization to contact the republic’s enlistment offices.
Actions against mobilization also took place in other regions of Russia. In Yakutsk about 400 people, most women, protested by dancing a traditional Yakut circular dance called osuokhay. At one point, the dancing women encircled police, chanting “Let our children live!” When police started making arrests, the protest stopped. At least 24 people were arrested in Yakutsk, reports OVD-Info. The Civic Chamber of Yakutia announced that “an osuokhay, a blessing from mothers that their husbands and sons return alive” had taken place.
In Nalchik, in Kabardino-Balkaria, a protest took place on the square in front of the government building. A few dozen people attended, judging by video recordings. On a recording, an elderly woman says “I won’t hand over my husband, I won’t hand him over, even if they shoot me!”
In five days of protests against the mobilization, more than 2,000 people have been arrested. On September 21, when protests started, 1369 people in 43 cities were arrested, says OVD-Info. On September 24, 833 people in 36 cities. On September 25, as of 8:30pm, 32 people had been arrested.
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