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Russian Demonstrators Protest Subsidy Reforms, Rate Hikes

Thousands of demonstrators staged a peaceful rally in Russia's capital Saturday to protest recent reforms that reduced Soviet-era subsidies for rent and utilities.

Many elderly pensioners were among the 5,000 demonstrators criticizing the rising costs of living. Protesters say people on fixed incomes cannot afford to pay household expenses given recent rate hikes and subsidy reductions.

Demonstrators are urging the government to use some of the revenue from Russia's booming oil industry to help maintain aging buildings and to assist people who cannot afford rising housing and utility costs.

The Communist Party and other leftist groups sponsored the Moscow rally.

Demonstrations were also held elsewhere in Russia Saturday, including the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.