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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

1,000 Protesters Try to March to Kremlin

APWorld War II veterans dancing, singing, and holding portraits of Josef Stalin near Belorussky Station on Monday.
About 1,000 Communists and radical leftists rallied near Belorussky Station and clashed briefly with police when they tried to stage their own march to Red Square to commemorate Victory Day on Monday.

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov denounced the official Red Square festivities as "window dressing," even though the parade was steeped in Soviet-style symbolism that appeals to war veterans and older Russians who traditionally support the Communists.

Supporters of the Communist Party, the nationalist Rodina party and several radical youth groups gathered on a square at Belorussky Station at about 9 a.m. for a demonstration critical of the official commemorations of the 60th anniversary of the Soviet victory against Nazi Germany in World War II.

Afterward, they demanded that they be allowed to march down Tverskaya Ulitsa to Red Square -- the same route taken by victorious Soviet soldiers when they returned from the front in 1945.

OMON riot police refused to let the crowd through a police cordon sealing off the city center. Some activists with the Red Youth Vanguard group tried to break through the cordon, lighting smoke bombs and throwing them at the police. But they retreated after police forced them back, Interfax reported.

Later, small groups of protesters managed to march downtown but were not allowed anywhere near Red Square.

A group of 30 to 40 mostly elderly people marched through Kamergersky Pereulok, holding red banners and portraits of Josef Stalin.

As they passed rows of outdoor cafes along the pedestrian lane, the protesters shouted "Capitalists!" at surprised diners.

City authorities earlier refused to grant permission for Communists and other leftist groups to stage traditional Victory Day marches in the city center, citing heightened security due to the participation of 57 world leaders in the holiday festivities.

About 200 demonstrators were detained for various minor offenses on Tuesday, and most were released within a few hours, according to Moscow police.

Among those detained were about 30 Rodina activists who tried to hold an unauthorized rally outside the Latvian Embassy near Chistoprudny Bulvar, where Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga was staying during her Victory Day visit.

Vike-Freiberga was the only leader from a Baltic country to attend the Moscow ceremonies.

Relations are tense between Russia and the Baltic countries, which complain that the end of World War II marked the start of decades of Soviet occupation.

Ahead of Victory Day, Rodina deputies said they would disobey an order from State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov to attend the Red Square celebrations in order to avoid participating in an event along with Vike-Friberga.

Gryzlov ordered deputies to attend the official ceremonies to prevent them from taking off for vacation during the extended, four-day holiday weekend, Interfax reported.