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Russian Orthodox Christians protest against Coca-Cola ads

Russia
(updated 18:24 28.10.2014)
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Russian Orthodox Christians picketed the anti-monopoly authority in the Volga city of Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday, protesting against Coca-Cola ads they deemed to be blasphemous.
NIZHNY NOVGOROD, January 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Orthodox Christians picketed the anti-monopoly authority in the Volga city of Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday, protesting against Coca-Cola ads they deemed to be blasphemous.

The regional department of the Federal Antimonopoly service was hosting a session to discuss a complaint by a group of Nizhny Novgorod residents.

In mid-December a group of religious citizens sent a letter to the city's prosecutors, the governor and the local bishop about the world-famous beverage company's "blasphemous ads."

The believers said the advertizing posters on refrigerators in Nizhny Novgorod showed distorted images of various well-known churches in the city, as well as views of the local Kremlin.

The activists demanded that the posters be removed and Coca-Cola brought to trial for "inciting religious hatred and undermining national dignity."

"Coca-Cola uses all these Orthodox symbols in a blasphemous way by placing images of Coca-Cola bottles inside the pictures," the letter said. "Some [church] images are deliberately turned upside down, including the crosses."

Prosecutors began a probe into complaint, and the final results will be announced in late January.

Coca-Cola issued a statement on Monday saying that that "guided by the principles of responsible marketing, we have made a decision to remove refrigerators depicting Orthodox churches in Nizhny Novgorod, and all similar images will be shortly replaced by others."