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BBC Monitoring
"Flush Putin down the Hague Tribunal" - chants rally in Russia's Tatarstan
Source: NTV International, Moscow, in Russian 1000 gmt 15 Oct 01

[Presenter] A day of national mourning is being marked in Kazan today. [15 October] Thus Tatarstan is marking a special day: the seizure of Kazan by troops belonging to [Russian Tsar] Ivan the Terrible in 1552 to the day. Separatist tendencies are getting stronger in the republic. Rallies and protest actions are under way. Our special correspondent Vyacheslav Prynov has the story.

[Correspondent] Some 1,500 people marched through the streets of Kazan to remember Tatar soldiers who were killed 449 years ago when Kazan's Kremlin was seized by Russia troops.

This historic occasion is just an excuse as the rally made a political demand: The creation of an independent state in Tatarstan with its own president and its own national guard...

Activists of a national movement are accusing Tsar Ivan the Terrible and Vladimir Putin: The first one is being accused of destroying the Kazan khanate and the second one is being accused of depriving Tatarstan of its sovereignty. The strongest slogan displayed reads: "Russia eradicate the plague of chauvinism."

A flag, which shows the Russian tsar and the two-headed eagle, was burnt down by nationalists. [Video showed the burning of the flag] Those taking part in the rally shout in Tatar: Freedom .

[Rinat Nuralli, deputy chairman of the All-Tatar public council for ideology] This small republic is all that is left of a great and powerful Tatarstan. We want to build our own state on this territory. We want the Tatar nation to flourish. We want its language and culture to flourish...

[Correspondent] Abu-Bakr describes himself as a righteous Muslim. He said that he sees his involvement in the rally and his conversation with a journalist as a fight against evil or jihad.

[Abu-Bakr, captioned as Muslim] No-one has the right to tell us how to live. This is our land. Every centimetre of this land is soaked with the blood of our Muslim brothers, (?Babayevs). They have all turned into Shahids [Martyrs].

[Correspondent] Those who addressed the rally claimed that Muslims not only in Russia but also in Palestine, Chechnya and Afghanistan are being surpressed . They are asking Allah to punish the USA which has turned into the devil's country. Some 100 volunteers have already expressed the wish to fight on the Taleban side in Afghanistan.

[Rashi Daliberov, captioned as volunteer] I will go there to fight against the Americans and the USA. I want to help them in every possible way.

[Correspondent] After a joint prayer session, the participants in the remembrance day adopted an appeal to the Russian and Tatar presidents which had been drafted by the leaders of the public council.

Three main demands were made: to adopt an act on full independence for Tatarstan, to cancel Russian passports and introduce Tatar passports, to abandon the Cyrillic alphabet and replace it with the Latin one.

[Video report showed people praying, the rally in front of government house and protesters with slogans: "Flush Putin down the Hague Tribunal", "No Tatar bread for slaves of the empire","Tatars united - a powerful nation" and other slogans.]

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