Timur Achmizov, right, wears the Circassian flag draped over his shoulders as he attends a folk theater troupe performance at the Circassian House in Olympic Park at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Friday Feb. 14, 2014. The Circassian House was hastily erected by Olympic organizers after regional authorities belatedly acknowledged that the Olympic sites were built on what was once Circassian land. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Olympic tension: Activists say ethnic leader held

February 17, 2014

SOCHI, Russia (AP) Activists say Russian police have detained a community leader of the Circassian ethnic group, which is native to the Sochi region and has protested Russia's holding of the Olympics on their ancestors' land.

The Adyge Khase community group said Monday that leader Asker Sokht was held Friday near the city of Maikop under unclear circumstances. Local police in Maikop would not comment.

Activist Arandin Khotai of the community group says the arrest was unexpected because Sokht had good relations with local authorities and is viewed as a moderate.

Khotai said the Sochi Olympics are being held ''as if we don't exist.''

Circassian activists in cities around the world have protested the Olympics, angry over a massacre of their ancestors by czarist troops in the 19th century.

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