Thousands march in Moscow to protest Crimea vote

7:42 PM, Mar 15, 2014   |    comments
Credit: Artem Svetlov
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MOSCOW (AP) - Not everyone in Russia is backing Sunday's referendum in Crimea on whether to break away from Ukraine and merge with Russia.

Tens of thousands gathered Saturday in downtown Moscow in the largest anti-government demonstration since 2012, protesting against the Kremlin-backed referendum.

Demonstrators waved Russian and Ukrainian flags while opposition activists - including the two members of the punk band Pussy Riot who served prison terms for an anti-government stunt - shouted "Say no to war!" and "Putin, go away!" from a stage.

Protesters also carried banners that read: "For your freedom and for ours!" One demonstrator held up a plate of salo - cured pork fat that is a staple of Ukrainian cuisine and adored by many Russians - along with a poster that read: "Make salo, not war!"

Not far away near the Kremlin, several thousand people dressed in matching red costumes marched in formation to show their support for Russian intervention in the region.

Support for reclaiming Crimea, where a majority of residents speak Russian, has intensified amid relentless state television coverage of the region.

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