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Hundreds Protest Moscow City Hall's Plans To Demolish Soviet-Era Buildings

A demonstrator in Moscow protests against the demolition of Khrushchev-era five-story buildings outside the Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, on June 6.

Several hundred people rallied outside the Russian parliament on June 6 to protest a plan to demolish Soviet-era low-rise apartment blocks.

The State Duma on June 6 hosted Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, who was briefing the lower chamber of parliament on the redevelopment project to pull down entire neighborhoods of Soviet-era buildings.

Sobyanin plans to demolish 4,500 buildings erected in the 1950s and 1960s and replace them with high-rise apartment buildings to ease a housing crisis.

City Hall has insisted the buildings are too dilapidated and outdated, but many residents and activists see the plans as an excuse for the construction of high rises in some of Moscow's leafiest neighborhoods.

Several hundred people gathered for a protest outside the Duma, demanding antidemolition councilmen to be allowed to attend the hearing. Some protesters marched down Moscow's main street chanting "Sobyanin, resign!" No arrests were immediately reported.

Protesters say only those who support the "renovation" plan were allowed to take part in the Duma hearings.

Activists protesting the plan and those supporting the idea exchanged harsh words before the hearings started.

On May 14, thousands protested in Moscow against the old apartment blocks' demolition.