The dump on the edge of the Russian town of Volokolamsk has long been an irritant to the community’s 20,000-odd residents, worried about emissions of noxious gases.
The concerns escalated sharply this month when two protests were held in the town some 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of Moscow, then burst into national attention on Wednesday when scores of schoolchildren sought medical help because of nausea, fainting and other symptoms of possible gas poisoning. Officials said 57 were hospitalized.
That day, hundreds of people gathered outside the local hospital and surrounded local administrator Yevgeny Gavrilov, with one man in the crowd trying to punch him. Gavrilov was escorted to safety as the crowd shouted “Killer!”
A 10-year-old girl in a pink cap became a hit on the internet when video showed her making a throat-cutting gesture at Andrei Vorobyov, governor of the region that includes Volokolamsk.
Vorobyov’s office announced Friday that Gavrilov, the district leader, has been removed from office. Vorobyov has promised to get the landfill problem solved by mid-June, but anxiety remains high among residents.