Russia to Prosecute Crimean Tatar Protesters Over Unrest

Thousands of Crimean Tatars on Saturday responded to news that their spiritual leader had been banned from the peninsula by blocking several highways in a tense standoff with riot police — the first sign that the Muslim ethnic group’s discontent with Russian authorities may lead to turmoil.

On Saturday, Crimean authorities promised to dish out criminal charges to the group, which numbered about five thousand, according to the BBC Russian service. The group broke through border posts near the city of Armyansk and crossed the border into the buffer zone between Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula to meet Mustafa Dzhemilev, former head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, the ethnic group’s representative body.