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Russian Protester Charged for Quoting Anti-War Tupac Lyric

Police in central Russia charged an anti-war protester with “discrediting” the military for quoting American rapper Tupac on a poster.

Aynur Shayakhmetov staged the single-person picket at two landmarks in Ufa, the capital of the republic of Bashkortostan, the OVD-Info police-monitoring website reported Sunday.

Shayakhmetov was photographed holding up a banner with a line from Tupac’s 1993 platinum hit “Keep Ya Head Up” in front of the monument to Salavat Yulaev and outside the Bashkortostan concert hall, where he was detained.

“They have money for war but can’t feed the poor,” read his banner, signed “@2pac.”

Police released Shayakhmetov after filing administrative charges under a sweeping law against “fake news” about the military that Russia passed after invading Ukraine. 

He faces a maximum fine of 50,000 rubles ($600) on higher administrative charges.

Aggravated circumstances and a repeat offense within a year could lead to imprisonment for three to five years.

The “fake news” law’s swift passage has led to immediate arrests of a broad cross-section of public and private protesters, as well as dozens of independent news outlets suspending operations or being blocked by the authorities. 

Shayakhmetov is among at least 42 people who were detained in several Russian cities for anti-war actions over the weekend, OVD-Info said.

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