VLADIVOSTOK, RUSSIA — Russians from a broad spectrum of political movements protested in several cities Saturday, unified by their discontent over how Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has struggled to gird the country against the global financial crisis.
In the Far East port city of Vladivostok, more than 2,000 demonstrators marched along downtown streets chanting, "Putin, resign!" Anti-government rallies in Vladivostok in mid-December were brutally dispersed by Russian riot police, but on Saturday demonstrators were allowed to march.
In Moscow, scores of protesters took to the streets to denounce the government's management of the crisis. About 1,000 Communist Party loyalists were allowed to rally behind a police cordon, but opposition activists linked to Russia's beleaguered liberal movement were denied permission to demonstrate and had to break up into smaller groups to evade police.
At another Communist protest in Novosibirsk, in Siberia, demonstrators criticized the government's handling of the economy and called for Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin's ouster. A Communist rally in the Ural Mountain city of Yekaterinburg drew about 1,500 Russians.