A total of 4,000 representatives of Russia's opposition parties and their supporters took out to the streets in the northern Russian city of Arkhangelsk on Sunday protesting against rising prices for energy, heating and communal services, the Communist Party said.
However, according to police estimates, the number of protestors, who, in particular, demanded that utility prices be lowered to 2009 levels and that the governor resign, was ten times fewer, about 450 people.
Russia was badly hit by the global economic crisis, with the government devaluing the ruble and cutting spending. It has also introduced a set of unpopular measures in 2010, including higher community services bills, increased prices for food and medicines, and higher public transport fares.
The Russian leadership has been reluctant to allow the opposition to hold full-scale anti-government protests although a several-thousand-strong protest occurred in Russia's Baltic exclave on Kaliningrad in January.
Today's protest was organized by regional offices of the Communist Party, LDPR, Yabloko, Solidarity and other parties and movements.
Police said the hour-long rally was sanctioned by authorities and took place without incidents.
The Communists earlier said the Arkhangelsk Region authorities raised prices for cold and hot water supplies by 40-56%. Local authorities said the tariffs were only raised by 18% on the average.
Ruling United Russia Party representatives attended the rally.
"The party is also against high prices for communal services and power supplies. We support these demands," regional party office chief Anatoly Kozhin said.
ARKHANGELSK, February 21 (RIA Novosti)