Rape case sparks violent protests and anti-migrant fury in Siberian city
Over the past few days, residents of Yakutsk in eastern Russia attacked and harassed migrants from Central Asia. They also targeted migrant-owned businesses.
Young men barged into food booths and demanded that foreigners leave, police said.
“They came here and threatened us with a gun. They said: ‘Shut everything down and go home. You won’t live here anymore,’” one man told RT.
There were rumors of some people being hospitalized and even killed but the police denied that such incidents happened. Officers were also deployed to safeguard a mosque after a fired-up crowd held a protest outside its entrance.
The wave of anti-migrant anger was sparked by a recent case of a local woman abducted and raped. Though a suspect was quickly caught and pleaded guilty, locals became outraged after the media learned that he was a migrant from Kyrgyzstan. This was later confirmed by the governor.
The news immediately led to sporadic unauthorized rallies by locals who accuse foreigners of “stealing” jobs and committing crimes in the city.
Authorities later held their own mass rally, where Governor Aysen Nikolayev promised a crackdown on illegal immigration. “We will identify illegals and deport them,” he told the crowd.
The police meanwhile warned everyone against stoking “ethnic conflicts,” and several people have been detained in connection with vigilante violence.
Many migrant-operated cafes and shops, nevertheless, remain closed and around 100 buses stayed in their depots because migrant drivers were afraid to show up for work.
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