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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Peace, Strife in Revolution Rallies

Tens of thousands of protesters waving red Soviet flags and portraits of Lenin marched peacefully to the former KGB headquarters in Moscow on the 77th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution Monday, but a similar rally in Ukraine's capital Kiev was marred by violent clashes.


"Out with the presidential throne!" the marchers in Moscow chanted as they passed the red-brick walls of the Kremlin. "Yeltsin is a drunk pig!" others shouted.


Although Revolution Day is a state holiday, Yeltsin made a point of reporting to work at his Kremlin office as usual. Most Muscovites simply enjoyed the clear weather.


"They have nothing better to do," said Konstantin Terlitsky, who was trying to jog past the demonstrators. "I don't support Yeltsin either, but the Soviets don't have the answer. What do they want, more pain?"


For Lenin look-a-like Alexander Koklenkov, who charges people to have their picture taken with him, Revolution Day meant business.


"Today has a special significance for me, this holiday," Koklenkov said, straightening his cap and brushing his well-trimmed beard. "It means I'll make lots of money."


The rally began beneath a large statue of Lenin at Oktyabrskaya Ploshchad and continued on to Lubyanka Ploshchad.


"The time for revolution is now. We must not wait!" said Vladimir Lypov, 19, a student who was among a motley group of so-called Young Guard troops. "But this time we'll do it right."


In the Ukrainian capital Kiev, truncheon-wielding police and nationalists armed with flag poles clashed Monday when the demonstrators tried to disrupt a communist rally.


More than 10 protesters were detained and several people on both sides emerged from the clash bloody and bruised, said police spokesman Ivan Levchenko.


The main confrontation took place near a statue of Lenin, where some 8,000 communists were heading. Police held back thousands of nationalists trying to block them.


Jeering crowds waving sky-blue and yellow Ukrainian flags taunted the communists. "We want to show these murderers that today should be the day of mourning for the victims of Communism," said Vyacheslav Chornovil, leader of the nationalist Rukh party.


The communists finished their march under the protection of several thousand police, but canceled plans for speeches and songs at the foot of the Lenin statute. They laid wreaths, then quickly dispersed.


The Communist Party is Ukraine's largest political party and it had planned to use the rally to protest President Leonid Kuchma's new plans for market reforms.


Moscow authorities thumbed their noses at communist hardliners on Monday, banning demonstrators from Red Square -- and allowing a group of Western clowns to take their place. The clowns' tricks delighted the children, but annoyed elderly spectators who remembered days when tanks rolled past a selected audience in Soviet days in a display of military might.


At Lubyanka, demonstrators blasted the Yeltsin administration, calling for immediate presidential elections. Protesters also observed a moment of silence for Valentin Martemyanov, a member of parliament from the Communist Party who died Saturday after being mugged.


In St. Petersburg, nearly 6,000 people marched peacefully along Nevsky Prospekt, shouting "Down with Yeltsin!" and "All power to the Soviets!"