Moscow, 7 November 1996 (RFE/RL) -- As several thousand communist supporters marched in Moscow today to mark the 79th anniversary of the Russian Rrevolution, smaller demonstrations were also held in cities across Russia and the former Soviet Union.
The Associated Press news agency reports that in Ukraine some 5,000 communists marched through downtown Kyiv and laid wreaths at the city's only remaining prominent statue of Lenin.
The agency says that a separate crowd of some 1,000 people assembled in the nearby square outside St. Sofia's Cathedral, carrying slogans protesting what they called the "dream of idiots" that produced the revolution. The report said some nationalists clashed briefly with riot police, but were quickly dispersed.
Hundreds of riot troops packed Kyiv in expectation of violence, which has marred other Revolution Day ceremonies in recent years.
Ukraine's government published a list of official holidays last month that excluded November 7. But the Communist-dominated Parliament immediately passed a resolution reinstating the holiday.
Interfax news agency reports that the largest communist-supporters' rally elsewhere in Ukraine was in the southeastern industrial city of Donetsk with some 10,000 people participating. They protested against the economic policies of President Leonid Kuchma.
Meanwhile in Belarus' capital, Minsk, some 5,000 people were reported to have rallied in Gorky Park. Reuter news agency says participants were split between supporters of President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka, approving Lukashenka's policy of forming a union with Russia, and opponents to the president, who accuse him of trying to build a dictatorship.