Hundreds protest against Saint Petersburg authorities

3rd April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Hundreds of people protested Sunday in Saint Petersburg over local authorities' failure to protect people against winter accidents or to defend the historic city centre from developers.

Five people, including two children, have been killed and hundreds wounded by falling icicles this winter in Russia's second city while the local authorities have also been under fire for allowing the demolition of old buildings.

The "In Defence of Saint Petersburg" protest attracted some 700 people, an AFP correspondent reported, and involved forces ranging from the liberal Yabloko party to the usually Kremlin-friendly opposition party A Just Russia.

"The authorities this winter have shown their impotence in dealing with icicles and snow," said protestor Tatyana Frolova, 45.

Falling icicles -- which hang like daggers over pedestrians from the edge of roofs -- are a daily menace in Russia's former imperial capital during the winter.

Fellow demonstrator Svetlana Afansieyeva, 68, added: "Who is going to answer for the demolition of the historic centre where several old buildings have already been replaced by monstrous modern constructions?"

The Saint Petersburg authorities in January this year asked the federal government to remove the city from the list of Russia's historic sites, outraging protection groups who claimed they were opening the floodgates to developers.

© 2011 AFP

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