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Fishermen In Russia's Far East Demand Help At Protest

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, Russia -- Hundreds of fishermen from 12 large fishing boats protested today in front of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's regional office in the far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The fishermen demanded during their rally in the capital, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, that their overdue salaries from the Akros company be paid and they be allowed to resume their work. They said they have been idle for more than a year and are owed back wages.

The fishermen said their boats are designed to fish for cod and tuna and were built abroad, which leads to their vessels officially being considered foreign ships and prevented them from fishing in Russia's territorial waters.

Many of the fishermen held a three-day hunger strike in January, after which the Russian government urged local officials to resolve the issue. But the fishermen said nothing had been done.