Crowds in Pioneer Square in St Petersburg
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Russian protesters reject 'empty menu'

Thousands of protesters have met in St. Petersburg to call for a rerun of Russia's disputed parliamentary election.

Sergei Mironov, leader of the "Just Russia" party, told 2,000 supporters in Pioneer Square that "the Duma and the Federation Council should serve the people".

Across the city in Sakharov Square about 1,000 people attended a rally called by the unofficial opposition - those groups refused registration in the Duma elections.

Supporters of the "Other Russia" coalition, which includes groups led by Boris Nemtsov and Garry Kasparov, rubbed shoulders with Russian nationalists carrying black, yellow and white flags.

The "Other Russia" head in St. Petersburg, Olga Kurnosova, repeated calls for new elections from the stage.

She added: "We want presidential candidates we can vote for, we are not ready to choose from an empty menu with only the skin and the bones left."

The rallies will put pressure on Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as he seeks a new term as Russian president.

His popularity has declined since he and Medvedev announced plans in September to swap jobs next year, a decision which many Russians said showed a disregard for democracy.

  • 24 Dec 2011
  • From the section UK