Thousands protest against Moscow housing resettlement, but numbers fall

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Thousands of Muscovites protested in the south-west of the Russian capital on Sunday against government plans to resettle millions of citizens from shoddy Soviet-era apartment blocks, but numbers had fallen compared to earlier rallies.

A Reuters witness said around 5,000 people attended the latest rally, compared to organizers’ estimates of 60,000 at a protest on May 14. Police put the number at that rally at 8,000, though their estimate covered a smaller area.

The draft law on renovation envisages moving some Muscovites into modern flats but has fueled concerns about property rights, a year after city authorities provoked an outcry among small businesses by bulldozing many street kiosks.

Moscow residents are also concerned about the location and quality of the planned new accommodation, a lack of services and infrastructure and about threats the redevelopment may pose to the historic face of the Russian capital.

(Reporting by Jack Stubbs; Editing by David Evans)