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Siberians Rally Against Price Hikes, Kremlin

BIISK, Russia -- About 200 demonstrators gathered in the central Russian city of Biisk to protest price hikes and a perceived "monopolization of power," RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The March 11 rally -- the second protest against rising prices in as many days -- was organized by local Communist Party members and workers at military-industrial facilities.

Protesters demanded that local authorities establish thorough control over the quality and cost of utilities in Biisk, a city of some 230,000 people in the Altai Krai.

They also put forward political demands. Protesters held banners reading "United Russia is the Party of Cheating, Responsible for the Crisis" and "Putin's Government Should Resign!"

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is the chairman of the ruling United Russia.

Russians are preparing to vote in local elections on March 14.