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Residents of Flood-Struck Russian City Protest Local Government

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Residents of Orsk, the Ural Mountains city most impacted by some of Russia’s worst flooding in decades, staged protests against local authorities’ perceived inaction on Monday.

Much of Orsk was submerged underwater after the Ural River swelled and burst through a dam embankment on Friday, forcing thousands to evacuate. Russia declared a regionwide state of emergency as water levels continued to rise and threaten the regional capital of Orenburg.

“Shame! Shame! Shame!” the crowd of around 100 was heard shouting in the Orsk central square, according to the Ostorozhno Novosti news channel on Telegram. 

The outlet said the chants were directed at the local administration over low compensation for property damage and the burst dam’s structural deficiencies.

Regional prosecutors had warned residents against staging unauthorized meetings in connection with the floods.

According to Ostorozhno Novosti, police attempted to disperse the crowd through orders on a loudspeaker.

Some protest leaders were invited for private negotiations with Orenburg region Governor Denis Pasler, according to the local news outlet Orsk.ru.

Orsk Mayor Vasily Kozupitsa stayed outside to address the crowd, the outlet said.

Another video from the demonstration showed parts of the crowd shouting “Putin, Help!” in an apparent appeal for President Vladimir Putin’s direct intervention.

The Kremlin said that Putin, who ordered a government commission to oversee the flood response, did not plan to visit the damaged area.

Earlier footage of federal Emergency Situations Minister Alexander Kurenkov surveying the damage showed a resident criticizing Putin’s absence.

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