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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hundreds of Communists Protest at U.S. Embassy

Hundreds of Communist and leftist demonstrators staged a noisy protest near the U.S. Embassy on Thursday, hours before U.S. President George W. Bush arrived for the summit.

At a smaller protest in St. Petersburg, which Bush is to visit this weekend, several demonstrators pushed away a cowboy hat-wearing American who made critical comments to the gathering.

"I was just passing by and couldn't remain indifferent to what was going on," said David Francis, who identified himself as a Texas native teaching English at St. Petersburg University, where the crowd of about 60 had gathered.

Police intervened and separated Francis from the demonstrators.

In Moscow, more than 300 demonstrators from the Communist Party and various leftist splinter groups waved red Soviet flags and chanted anti-Bush and anti-Putin slogans near the yellow building on the busy Garden Ring that runs beside the U.S. Embassy's sprawling compound.

"I'm against Bush and the politics of our government, the political course Putin is taking," said Alexei, a 73-year-old pensioner who refused to give his last name. "It's destroying our national pride."

Various speakers, addressing the crowd through a bullhorn, called Bush a "terrorist" and "imperialist" bent on world domination, and criticized Putin for pursuing a "pro-American" foreign policy. Signs in the crowd read "Yankee -- Go Home," "American Globalism -- No," and "Russia Is Not a Colony."

One protester, dressed as the Statue of Liberty, held up a chicken leg, symbolizing the lingering dispute over U.S. poultry imports that has clouded trade relations between Russia and the United States ahead of the summit.

Dozens of police blocked the protesters from moving in front of the building itself. The crowd briefly surged against a cordon of police, but the situation calmed down and there appeared to be no injuries or arrests.

Earlier in the day, Kremlin security guards broke up a small environmental rally in Red Square, wrestling a dozen protesters to the ground and whisking them away in police cars.

The demonstrators had been protesting Russia's decision to accept nuclear waste from other countries in exchange for cash.