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Thousands Protest In Russia Against NATO Transit Center

Protesters rally against the deployment of a NATO transit point in Ulyanovsk on April 21.
Thousands of people have gathered in the central Russian city of Ulyanovsk to march in protest against the proposed establishment of a transit center for NATO.

The protesters wore shirts with slogans such as "Stop NATO!" and "We won't tolerate NATO in the heart of the Motherland."

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov is taking part in the protest.

NATO has requested permission to use facilities at an airport in Ulyanovsk, on the Volga River, for its mission in Afghanistan.

Russian President-elect Vladimir said last week it was in Russia's "national interest" to grant the request, because instability in Afghanistan could result in the spread of drugs and Islamic extremism.

Based on reporting by Interfax and ITAR-TASS