Authorities in southwest Russia filed charges against a group of pig farmers for an unsanctioned rally that blocked a highway leading to neighboring Kazakhstan, the Orenburg regional Interior Ministry branch told the state-run RIA news agency.
Around 100 protesters disbanded after authorities explained that they could face 10,000 ruble ($170) fines, RIA reported. Two tractor drivers also face charges blocking traffic and driving without a license.
The demonstrators reportedly took to the streets early Monday after authorities seized computers from the farm where they work as part of a fraud investigation. The seizures disrupted an automated feeding system used by 28,000 pigs.
The Vishnevsky selective breeding and hybridization center director said that last week’s document and computer seizures “could be connected to subsidies received from the Orenburg regional government.”
“Our enterprise has been working for more than 11 years, our paperwork is transparent,” Viktor Zheleznov told RIA. “We cannot explain the reason for this persecution on the ground.”
Regional business ombudsman Viktor Korshunov told the agency that seizing equipment for the legally mandated period of three months “usually happens during an illegal takeover.”
“Seizing a computer in modern conditions is the same as decapitating an enterprise, especially if most processes in the operation are automated.”