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Thousands Rally In Moscow, St. Petersburg

Anti-Putin poster at a rally in Irkutsk on December 17.
Thousands have taken to the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg for a second weekend of protests over Russia's disputed parliamentary elections.

About 4,000 supporters of the Communist Party rallied outside the walls of the Kremlin this afternoon.

They demanded a recount of the vote and the government's resignation.

In St. Petersburg, a rally in a central square drew about 3,000 people from various political parties and movements.

Protesters were heard chanting: "Russia without Putin!"

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party won just below 50 percent of the vote in the parliamentary elections earlier this month.

This weekend's protests follow nationwide rallies held in dozens of Russian cities last weekend, including an unprecedented gathering of tens of thousands in Moscow.

compiled from agency reports