May Day rallies demand end to price rise in Russia

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Moscow, May 1 (UNI) Tens of thousands of people are taking part in May Day rallies today across Russia, demanding the authorities to control the rising prices under the slogan ''Growth of wages should exceed growth of prices.'' The slogan was put forward by Russian trade unions.

In Soviet times, May 1 saw massive pro-Communist Party rallies.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the May Holiday was renamed as ''Spring and Labour Day'' which is celebrated as a national holiday, taking on a different face.

Nowadays May Day offers a chance for different political parties and groups to champion their cause. Pro-Kremlin parties, as well as opposition and anarchist movements take to the streets on this day.

About 30,000 people are taking part in May Day rallies in downtown Moscow, the chief spokesman for the Moscow Police Viktor Biryukov told reporters here.

''The situation is calm, everything is proceeding according to plan. Everyone is in a festive mood,'' Mr Biryukov said.

He added the biggest rally had taken place on Tverskaya Square (former Gorky Street) and involved about 23,000 people, adding that about 9,000 police, Interior Ministry troops and special police units were ensuring law and order.

''Metal detectors have been installed at the sites of the biggest events,'' he informed.

Russia's modern political parties have also taken the occasion to hold rallies, with supporters of the ruling United Russia party, the Communist Party, the ultranationalist LDPR party and A Just Russia party taking part in rallies across the city.

The democratic Yabloko party has also organised a march to voice their concerns about the violations of human rights.

An opposition 'March of Dissent' is taking place in St Petersburg with the participation of hundreds of demonstrators.

Traffic movement in central Moscow will be limited during the day and tight security is in place to prevent any untoward incident that might be caused by the mass rallies.

UNI XC RJ AS1720

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