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Russian Pensioners Protest Abolition Of Free Public Transport

UST-ILIMSK, Russia -- Some 30 elderly residents in an eastern Russian city demonstrated today against a proposal that would abolish free public transport for pensioners, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Natalya Shestakova, secretary of the Communist Party Committee in the city of Ust-Ilimsk, told RFE/RL the party organized the protest in front of the city council building.

She said the city Duma was debating Mayor Vladimir Tashkinov's proposal to abolish free public transport for pensioners and veterans and to raise fares by 80 percent.

Tashkinov met with the protesters and invited them to take part in the discussion on the condition they end their protest. They rejected his offer.

The Duma is expected to vote on the mayor's proposal next week. Valery Peshtich, a member of Ust-Ilimsk's Communist Party committee, told RFE/RL that another protest will be held on the day of the vote.

Ust-Ilimsk is a country of nearly 100,000 people in the Siberian region of Irkutsk.

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