Crimean Tatar Flag Day event also banned


The Simferopol City Council has refused to allow events to mark Crimean Tatar Flag Day from being held in the centre of the city.  It claims that on that day, June 26 the civic organization ‘Russian Community’ is holding a Mordovia – Crimea marathon on the central Lenin Square.  The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People had originally been told that the Flag Day events could not be held in a more central park, at which point they applied to hold it on Lenin Square.

The City Council’s executive body has instead proposed that the events should be held in Al-Mechet on the outskirts of Simferopol in the area around the mosque. 

Just over a month ago, on May 17-18, the Crimean occupation regime prohibited the traditional mass rally in the centre of Simferopol which this year marked the seventieth anniversary of the Deportation of the Crimean Tatars.  A general ban on all public meetings in the Crimea was declared on May 16, with it extending up till June 6.  

If anybody were naïve enough to doubt that the move was directly aimed at preventing remembrance ceremonies and gatherings on this most painful of all Crimean Tatar anniversaries, the behaviour of the authorities, police and FSB on May 18 left no scope for illusions.  Military helicopters deliberately flew overhead during the prayer gatherings at Al Mechet in Simferopol and in Bakchysarai.  The centre of Simferopol was totally cordoned off by OMON riot police and military. 

Russia’s ban remained in force and Mustafa Jemiliev, the 71-year-old Crimean Tatar leader and Ukrainian MP was prevented from spending the anniversary in his native Crimea. 

Refat Chubarov, head of the Mejlis, noted as soon as the ban on public gatherings was announced that the timing was specifically aimed at preventing the Crimean Tatar remembrance gatherings, and allowing public events to mark ‘Russian Language Day’ on June 6.  The latter was indeed marked in lavish fashion. 

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