Thousands of nationalists and far-right supporters have used a public holiday in Russia to march in support of calls for curbs on immigration. Officials said at 5000, this was the largest protest of its kind in the capital for at least five years.
Their calls have some public support, enough to prompt activists to warn that the far-right has the potential to become a major force in Russian politics.
But their numbers were dwarfed by at least ten thousand members of the pro-Kremlin group Nashi, who held a rival rally in the centre of Moscow. They threw posters of enemies of the Kremlin to the ground.
The Day of People’s Unity holiday was introduced in 2005 to commemorate the defeat of Polish invaders in 1612. It replaces a communist celebration of the 1917 revolution. But the majority of Russians are unaware the holiday exists. In a survey, only ten percent of Russians could identify the date of the holiday and its exact origins. Only one percent of people thought it was a significant occasion.