MOSCOW (AP) — About 300 people rallied outside the Russian parliament on Friday morning to protest a controversial plan to tear down Soviet-era low-rise apartment blocks and relocate 1.6 million people.
Several people were detained at the impromptu rally outside the State Duma, or parliament, where many protesters locked arms, chanting patriotic songs.
The parliament is expected to consider the second reading of a bill that would allow Moscow City Hall to pull down entire neighborhoods of Soviet-era buildings. The redevelopment project, arguably Russia’s largest, has rattled many in Moscow who see the plans as an encroachment on their constitutional rights and do not want to move. City Hall insists that the buildings are too dilapidated and their maintenance too costly.
Thousands of people took to the streets last month to protest the plans in what was described as the largest non-political protest in years.
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“I worked 13 years to buy my apartment,” said Yevgeniya Dubovichenko, who was protesting outside the Duma. “I’m opposed to the very possibility that my home can be pulled down today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow in the interests of the city.”
If the bill passes in the second reading on Thursday, the parliament will then only be able to adopt it or reject it, but not amend it.