1:53 p.m. ET, April 20, 2020
Hundreds protest against self-isolation in Russia
Law enforcement officers and people taking part in a protest against the self-isolation order in Svobody Square in Vladikavkaz, Russia on Monday, April 20.
Elina Sugarova/TASS/Sipa USA
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia republic in Russia, to protest against self-isolation orders and job losses on Monday, state-run TV channel Alania and Russian agencies reported.
In videos emerging on social media, the protesters demanded the resignation of the head of the region and financial support from the authorities because of mass job losses amid the pandemic.
Local lawmakers responded with a video urging people to stay home and form an initiative group to address the issue of job losses and financial strains of the lockdown, state-run agency RIA Novosti reported.
Police special units largely dispersed the demonstration, detaining three organizers, according to OVD-Info, an NGO that monitors protests and police activity in Russia.
Local media reported that the protest had been initiated by an opera singer who last week posted videos saying the coronavirus was a “made-up disease” and the response measures are inadequate. Regional authorities initiated a criminal investigation for spreading fake news about the coronavirus in Vladikavkaz.
“Calling on the population of the republic to disobey and violate the regime of self-isolation, the suspect formed an opinion among citizens that there are no circumstances that constitute a threat to their life and health,” a statement from investigators read. "As it was established by the investigation, this information does not correspond to reality."