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Russian Police Break Up Protest in Ingushetia


Russian police in the southern republic of Ingushetia used batons to break up a protest Tuesday against the fatal shooting of opposition journalist Magomed Yevloyev while in police custody.

Police dispersed hundreds of activists who spent the night in the central square of the town of Nazran.

The protesters reject police claims that Yevloyev's death was an accident. They demand that Ingush leader Murat Zyazikov resign.

U.S. State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack calls Yevloyev's death very disturbing and says Russian officials need to, in his words, "get to the bottom of it." The Russian prosecutor general's office has opened a criminal investigation.

Yevloyev, who owned the pro-opposition Web site Ingushetia.ru was killed by a bullet to the head Sunday while in police custody.

The Web site says police took him off an airplane upon his arrival in Ingushetia, put him in the back of a police car, and drove him away for questioning.

Police say Yevloyev was shot accidentally when he tried to grab an officer's gun. But human rights groups and Yevloyev's supporters believe he was murdered.

Yevloyev was highly critical of Ingushetia's Kremlin-backed government, including Zyazikov. Authorities have been trying to shut down his Web site.

A top official of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Miklos Haraszti, called Yevloyev's death "outrageous." He said the assassination represents further deterioration of media freedom in Russia.

Ingushetia borders Russia's Chechnya region, where pro-Islamic separatists have been battling the Russian government for more than a decade.

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