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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

4,000 March to Protest Gazprom Tower

APGrigory Yavlinsky marching with protesters over Gazprom's proposed skyscraper Saturday in St. Petersburg.
Some 4,000 activists from Yabloko and coalition The Other Russia marched against Gazprom's planned skyscraper in St. Petersburg in one of the larger protests in years.

Demonstrators shouted "Down with Gazprom" during the peaceful protest through central St. Petersburg on Saturday.

"This skyscraper is ugly. It is absolutely clear it is an absurd, shameless and a disgraceful idea," Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky said.

Garry Kasparov, a former world chess champion and leader of The Other Russia, also marched.

Gazprom wants to build the tower -- dubbed Gazoskryob, or Gasscraper and nearly as tall as France's Eiffel Tower -- near the center of the city, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. UNESCO recently voiced concern about the project.

The campaign to stop the tower is one of the biggest protests during Vladimir Putin's seven years as president and may give liberal opponents a chance to win back some public support. The divided liberal opposition has so far failed to create a unified party capable of overcoming the 7 percent barrier required to win seats in State Duma elections in December.

City authorities refused permission for the protest to take place on St. Petersburg's main street but allowed it to march on side streets.

Reuters, MT