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Kiosk Operators Demonstrate In Kazan

KAZAN, Tatarstan -- More than 200 entrepreneurs and small-business owners held a demonstration in Kazan, the capital of the Russian republic of Tatarstan, to draw attention to their problems with city officials, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The demonstrators marched on September 10 through central Kazan to the city's Kremlin, where several speeches were made.

The protest, which was approved by authorities, was organized by the Guild of Small and Medium Enterprises of Kazan. Demonstrators wanted to highlight that all small shops and kiosks in Kazan are currently operating illegally because no rental agreements have been concluded between kiosk operators and city authorities.

Kazan officials tried to address the problem by issuing an order allowing entrepreneurs using the city's kiosks to continue to do so until 2012. But the Prosecutor's Office successfully appealed the order in court and it was annulled.

Although the order on the kiosks was sent to a higher court, officials have already dismantled several kiosks in the city, which led to several entrepreneurs starting a hunger strike.