On 21 April, rallies in support of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny were held in dozens of Russian cities, including Makhachkala where at least 10 protesters were arrested. Navalny is in a penal colony, where he was sent earlier this year.
Several dozen people came to the central square in Makhachkala, the capital of Daghestan, according to the local newspaper Novoye Delo.
The protests began at 19:00 local time, though the police began detaining Navalny's supporters even before the rally started.
According to local media reports, a total of 10 people were detained, including Bariyat Idrisova, a journalist from the local newspaper Chernovik, and Yulia Sugueva, a reporter for the Moscow-based news agency Mediazon. The journalists have since been released.
On April 11, a headquarters for Navalny’s political movement opened in Makhachkala, with Eduard Atayev acting as coordinator and Murad Manapov his assistant. The following day, both men were detained by police and charged with petty hooliganism, an administrative offence.
Manapov was released on April 14, though, a week later he was again visited by the police who reportedly warned him against participating in rallies not sanctioned by the authorities. Eduard Atayev was released on 21 April.
One of the detainees was Diana Dibirova, a student of the M.A. Dzhemal Institute of Art in Makhachkala. At about 14:00 on 21 April, before the rally began, the police seized her from a classroom. According to her, the officers did not explain the reasons behind her detention and took away the girl's phone when she tried to film them.
As Dibirova told the Chernovik, employees at the Centre for Countering Extremism, a government-run counter-terrorism organisation, called her a drug addict and threatened to charge her with ‘inciting ethnic hatred’.
Didiborova said she was released at roughly 20:00 that evening and was fined ₽500 ($ 6.60). Dibirova had been previously detained by police at a pro-Navalny rally held in Makhachkala on 23 January.
Meanwhile, in the Republic of North Ossetia, members of the ‘Voice of Beslan’, an organisation composed of parents and relatives of the victims of the 2004 Beslan massacre, continue their hunger strike in solidarity with Navalny. The chairman of the organisation and four members — Zemfira Tsirikhova, Boris Ilyin, Zamira Isaeva and Zarina Kokoeva began their hunger strike on 19 April.