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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rally in St. Pete for NTV Draws 5,000

ST. PETERSBURG — Supporters of embattled NTV television rallied Sunday in St. Petersburg to support the non-government channel in its fight against a takeover by a government-connected gas company.

About 5,000 people attended the gathering, according to police estimates carried by Interfax. The rally in Russia's second-largest city follows one Saturday in Moscow, where NTV is headquartered.

NTV, the only nationwide television not controlled by the government, is fighting a takeover by Gazprom, which is partly owned by the government and has a Kremlin official as its board chairman. NTV says the Kremlin is orchestrating the takeover to eliminate the channel's independent news coverage of issues such as the war in Chechnya, government corruption and human rights.

Gazprom says it is entitled to take control because it is a major shareholder and is owed money by NTV.