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Activists Campaign Against Environmental Damage In Siberia


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IRKUTSK, Russia -- More than 100 activists gathered in the Siberian city of Irkutsk over the weekend to pressure the ruling United Russia party and the local authorities to halt development projects that they say will damage the local environment, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The October 23 gathering was organized by the local nongovernmental organizations Baikal Ecological Wave, People's Control, and Baikal Movement. The protesters held placards saying: "Is United Russia Really A Party Of Real Deeds?" and "United Russia, Why Is The Right To Make Money More Important Than The Right To Clean Water And Life?"

The activists are concerned about a paper mill that pollutes Lake Baikal and the fate of the Kai Forest, which is currently being felled by construction firms that plan to build new cottages there. They also warn that the Yershov reservoir could be polluted if a nearby forest is cut down. Residents of the town of Markovo are also campaigning against local authorities' plans to build a new dumpster site nearby.

The activists adopted a resolution urging the local authorities to halt those projects, which they claim would have a negative impact on the environment.

Representatives of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), United Russia, and the Communist Party (KPRF) also attended and addressed the gathering. The United Russia party representatives promised all the environmental problems mentioned will be solved.

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