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Villagers in Russia's Dagestan Protest Summer-Long Water Outage

Residents of Karaman 2 block traffic. Video grab

Residents of southern Russia’s republic of Dagestan blocked traffic on a federal highway in protest of water outages that are said to have lasted most of the summer, Russian authorities and media reported late Sunday.

Traffic was brought to a standstill in the village of Karaman 2, which lies along the highway that connects the Dagestani capital of Makhachkala and the city of Astrakhan, as shown in a video published by the independent news outlet RusNews. 

“A conflict arose between people demanding water supplies to their homes and drivers outraged by the blocked highway,” said Dagestan’s branch of Russia’s Interior Ministry.

RusNews and the Dagestani weekly Chernovik reported that village residents have gone without water “practically all summer.”

In total, some 200 residents defied Dagestan region Governor Sergei Melikov’s warning that unauthorized demonstrations carried criminal penalties, according to police estimates.

It was not immediately clear whether any arrests were made at the demonstration.

Dagestan’s police force said protesters were eventually dispersed and traffic was restored later on Sunday.

Sunday night’s demonstration comes days after residents of Makhachkala barricaded the city center following three days of blackouts, which authorities attributed to a heat wave.

Melikov did not address the latest traffic blockade.

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