On Sunday, July 21, hundreds of people gathered in a small town in Russia’s southern Voronezh Region for a mass protest against plans to open a nickel and copper mine in the area.
The demonstration was organized by the local anti-mine movement and residents of Novokhopersks who called to halt the mining project. According to the rally's organizers, about 3,000 people took part in the action, including those from neighboring provinces, while the police put the number at 900. 25 protesters were detained for calls for unrest.
It’s the first mass gathering of the campaigners after the 13-month standoff exploded last month with a crowd of several hundred storming the premises of a geological exploration party and torching cars, construction trailers and drilling rigs.
The miner, privately owned Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company (UMMC), has denied its mine would harm the environment and said it would create more than 4,000 jobs for the Voronezh Region.
The protesters insist that the local soil should be used for agriculture purposes, not the mining. According to the social researches which were made by the Russian Academy of Sciences in December 2012, 98% of Novokhopersk's citizens are against the mine project, and one-third of them are ready to fight against it even beyond legal frameworks.
Author: Julia Alieva