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Hundreds Rally Against Coronavirus Lockdown in Southern Russia

Footage on social media from the scene showed a large gathering. Elina Sugarova / TASS

Around 500 demonstrators have gathered in the southern Russian city of Vladikavkaz to protest against job losses and lack of information about the coronavirus outbreak, Russia’s MBKh News website reported Monday.

National Guard troops have been deployed at the scene and at least three people, including the organizers, have been detained, the outlet added.

“I didn’t make up this disease and there’s one treatment: stay home,” Vyacheslav Bitarov, the governor of Russia’s republic of North Ossetia, was quoted as telling protesters in an attempt to get them to disperse.

Footage on social media from the scene showed a large gathering in apparent violation of social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus. At least one video showed security officers dragging a protester away from the heart of the rally.

Unconfirmed reports said that up to 1,500 residents took part in the rally. 

The unrest in Vladikavkaz follows anti-isolation protests in another North Ossetia town, Digora, that drew around 100 people earlier in April.

North Ossetia had reported 145 coronavirus cases and two deaths as of Monday. Russia had reported a total of 47,121 coronavirus cases — 10th in the world — and 405 deaths.

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