MOSCOW (AP) — Police in the capital of Russia-annexed Crimea have detained demonstrators trying to take part in an unauthorized motorcade to observe the anniversary of the mass deportation of Crimean Tatars.
Tatars, a Turkic ethnic group, ruled the Black Sea peninsula from the 15th century until Russian conquest in the 18th century. In May 1944, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin accused the Tatars of collaborating with German forces and ordered their deportation, many to Central Asia.
Tatars commemorate the deportation on May 18. This year’s events in Simferopol were much smaller than those before Russia’s March 2014 annexation of Crimea, which most Tatars opposed.
Crimea’s chief of inter-ethnic affairs, Zaur Smirnov, said Monday about 100 motorcade participants were blocked and the men among them were taken to a police station to be interrogated.
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