Monday, 22 March 2010

Wrath in Russia, feminists in Kiev

Opposition protestors turned out for rainy protests as part of Day of Wrath demonstrations held in 38 cities across the country Saturday, Kommersant reported.

But only a handful managed to garner more than 1,000 people - far short of the multi-party, 10,000-strong rally Kaliningrad saw in January.

In Moscow, about 300 people gathered for an unsanctioned rally at Pushkin Square, where Left Front co-leader Sergei Udaltsov began taunting city authorities about their fears of a mass protest while demonstrators brandished placards calling for Prime Minister Putin's resignation. Police quickly dispersed the rally, organized by Left Front and the For Human Rights movement, detaining about 70 people.

Garnering some 2,000 people, one of the largest rallies was held in Vladivostok, with the aid of the Communists, regarded as one of the few oppositionist forces in parliament. There it joined forces with the liberal Yabloko party and the TIGR movement of "initiative citizens" for a protest denouncing Putin and his government.

Other protests in St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad were held, but they barely drew more than 500 people.

Officials in Ukrainian PM Mykola Azarov's cabinet have been exorcising evil spirits and putting women in their rightful place, Russian and Ukrainian media reported.

Replacing Orange Princess Yulia Tymoshenko as the newly-appointed prime minister, Azarov reportedly got busy sanctifying his new work quarters. "It was very hard to breathe in there. After the sanctification it got easier, and I walked into the office," Interfax quoted Azarov as saying after calling in Father Pavel of Kiev's Pechersk monastery for an exorcism.

Meanwhile, local feminists staged a dressing-down of new prime minister for his remarks about a woman's place. A group of women from the FEMEN organization took their clothes off in front of the cabinet building and called for cabinet wives to abstain from sex to protest comments by Azarov, who, when asked about why there were so few women in his cabinet, said that "reforming Ukraine is no job for a woman," Rosbalt reported. Prior to that, President Viktor Yanukovich had said that "a woman's place is in the kitchen, not in politics."

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