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Thousands In Russian City Protest Tax Increase On Imported Cars

VLADIVOSTOK -- Some 2,000 people have protested against a customs tax increase for imported used cars in the Far Eastern Russian city of Vladivostok, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The protesters were supported on December 14 by hundreds of people in cars adorned with yellow and orange ribbons driving near the protest. Hundreds of police and special forces were also present. Protesters held signs saying such things as "We are against new taxes."

Participants in the demonstration say that by making imported used cars more expensive, Russian officials will force thousands of people out of the car business.

Protesters went to the Vladivostok mayor's office, but the main street near the office was blocked to keep people driving in from nearby towns to join the protest.

The Russian government increased taxes on imported foreign cars on December 10. As of January 11, all foreign cars more than three years old will be subject to a 54 percent tax instead of the current 48 percent.