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31 Jan, 2009 19:33

Demonstrations over custom duties in the Far East

Some 41 people have been detained by police in Moscow, while thousands have taken to the streets across Russia in both support and against the government's handling of the current economic crisis.

In Moscow, marchers chanted anti-government slogans, carried banners and, according to Russian police officials, dozens of people have been arrested.

“Today, in the course of unsanctioned riots, 41 people have been detained,” said Victor Biriukov of the Interior Ministry of Moscow.

Members of the radical National Bolsheviks party, including its leader Eduard Lemonov, were among those detained by police.

Meanwhile, about 2,500 people took to the streets in Vladivostok to protest the government policies and the rise in customs duties on foreign cars imposed by recently  to protect domestic car manufacturers.

Protestors say that for many families in the city the sale of Japanese cars is their only source of income.

Elsewhere, some protests were called off due to severe frosts in Russian cities.

Also, those supporting the government’s response to the worldwide financial crisis were eager to express their views as they gathered across from those protesting the government.

Officials said some 5,000 participants gathered in Moscow for a rally orginised by the ruling United Russia party. Those at the rally expressed support for the government’s handling of the ongoing international financial crisis.

In Vladivostok, about 4,000 people met to show support for the government, as did crowds in other Russian cities.