Irkutsk Communists Protest Visit By Russian State Council

IRKUTSK, Russia — Communist Party members in the eastern Russian city of Irkutsk protested a visit today by members of a Kremlin advisory body, the Russian State Council Presidium, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports.

The activists held 30 individual protests on the city’s main streets, with each person standing 100 meters apart and holding signs against utility price hikes and antidrug policies and highlighting the problems faced by health-care workers and teachers.

Police urged the protesters to end their protest but they refused, arguing that the right to hold demonstrations is guaranteed by the Russian Constitution.

Irkutsk Communists were joined by their fellow members from the towns of Angarsk and Cheremkhov.

The Angarsk Communists tried to hand a petition addressed to President Dmitry Medvedev to the State Council members, but police blocked and evicted them from the square in front of the regional government building.

The chairmanship of the Russian State Council Presidium rotates among the leaders of the 83 federation subjects. It convenes at least once a month in a different region to discuss the country’s most urgent issues.

The protest actions staged in Irkutsk today were not sanctioned by local officials.

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