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Protest Erupts in Far East Russia After Pro-Kremlin Candidate's Victory

Vkontakte / sobytia03

This story was updated at 9:50 a.m. on Sept. 11.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Far East Russia on Monday night to demand a re-run of this Sunday’s local election won by a pro-Kremlin candidate and to call for the release of an anti-Putin shaman’s supporters, local media have reported.

Igor Shutenkov won 52.25% of the votes in the republic of Buryatia’s administrative center of Ulan-Ude, beating the Communist Party senator who had criticized police violence during protests in Moscow this summer. Local and regional elections took place across all of Russia's 11 time zones Sunday. 

Vkontakte / sobytia03

At least 200 protesters were joined by Vyacheslav Markhayev, the runner-up senator who had criticized police violence, the republic of Buryatia’s news website Babr24.com reported.

The spontaneous protest initially broke out in support of detained followers of Alexander Gabyshev, a shaman who has been walking on foot to Moscow to “expel” President Vladimir Putin, media reported.

Bair Tsyrenov, a member of Buryatia’s legislative assembly, warned that the protests could continue indefinitely.

The demonstrators stayed overnight outside the regional administration building, Interfax reported, and the protest continued into Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities detained at least two protesters, Interfax cited a local human rights official as saying. The official added that she plans to ask police why they were detained.

One detained activist has been reportedly diagnosed with a concussion and spinal fracture after being beaten by police. Rallygoers reported seeing masked officers armed with clubs, axes and hammers encircling activists’ vehicles and breaking their windshields before detaining protesters.

The head of Buryatia called police action “restrained and professional” and appealed to protesters in a video address to accept the outcome of the vote.

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