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28 Oct, 2007 16:34

Anti-fascists march in St. Petersburg

Thousands stage an anti-fascist rally in St. Petersburg, commemorating the life and work of murdered human rights activist Nikolay Girenko.

About three thousand protesters from various human rights groups turned out for the 'march against hatred' rally, the fourth event of its kind in the city.  
Girenko fought against xenophobia and ethnic hatred in Russia for more than 20 years before been shot dead in the doorway to his home in June 2004.
His killer has never been caught.
An author, as well as a scientist and an activist, Girenko set up organisations to promote tolerance.  He also wrote pioneering studies on fascism and was an expert witness in prosecutions on hate crimes.
Friend of Girenko and march organiser Aleksandr Vinnikov says it's important the campaign continues.
“Our goal is not to fight one man but the disease itself.  We need to address the whole of society,” Mr Vinnikov said.
Just weeks before Russia’s parliamentary elections, political parties were happy to be associated with the event.  And although supporters of the smaller parties stood separately from the ruling United Russia faction, leaders felt the issue was something they could all agree on.
Leonid Gozman from the Union of Right Forces says because of Russia's history, fascist symbols are universally hated across the country.  
“Only absolutely crazy people can say that they are fascists.  So when you say you are an anti-fascist, you join everybody,” Mr Gozman said.