Kaliningrad protest calls for Putin's resignation
Some 700 supporters of Russia's political opposition protested in the Baltic region of Kaliningrad on Saturday, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his government, local police said.
Members from opposition parties including The Left Front, Other Russia and the Communist Party demonstrated to express their "general discontent" with strongman Putin, Boris Nemstov, leader of the Solidarity party, told the Echo of Moscow radio station.
According to Nemstov, a former deputy prime minister, some 3,000 people took part in the demonstration, while Russian news agencies quoted organisers as saying 800 people and local police counted 700 participants.
"The authorities did everything they could to make this demonstration a failure," Nemstov said, adding that a separate protest was organised on Friday evening to divert participants away from Saturday's planned demonstration.
Protestors demanded lower prices for public services including water, electricity and gas and urged lower salaries for governors and local officials, to adjust average wages in the region, the Interfax news agency reported.
They also called for universal suffrage in the elections of regional governors, who are currently nominated by the Russian president from a list of three candidates chosen by his government and ratified by the regional parliament.
Kaliningrad governor Georgy Boos, whose term finishes in September, was unceremoniously excluded from the list of three candidates presented to the Kremlin from Putin's United Russia party this month.
A similar protest in January drew 10,000 protestors to the Russian region -- which overlooks the Baltic sea and borders Poland and Lithuania -- who called for Putin's resignation and expressed their general discontent with the ruling goverment.
© 2010 AFP