VORONEZH, July 21 (RIA Novosti) – Hundreds of people gathered in a small town in Russia’s southern Voronezh Region on Sunday for a new protest in their year-long campaign against plans to open a nickel and copper mine in the area, police officials said.
The demonstration was organized by the local anti-mine movement and residents of Novokhopersks who called to halt the mining project. The rally organizers said that the some 3,000 people took part in the demonstration, including those from neighboring provinces, while the police put the number at 900.
It’s the first mass gathering of the campaigners after the 13-month standoff exploded last month with a crowd of several hundred storming the premises of a geological exploration party and torching cars, construction trailers and drilling rigs.
The miner, privately owned Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company (UMMC), has denied its mine would harm the environment and said it would create more than 4,000 jobs for the Voronezh Region. The protesters insist that the local soil should be used for agriculture purposes, not the mining.