Russian city cancels cathedral construction after protests

May 22, 2019
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A young woman dances under the rain during a protest against construction of a cathedral in Yekaterinburg, Russia, Thursday, May 16, 2019. Russian police detained several dozen people in the early hours on Thursday at a rally protesting plans to build a cathedral in a popular park in Russia's fourth-largest city. (AP Photo/Evgeny Feldman)

MOSCOW (AP) — The governor of Russia’s Urals region said Wednesday that a plan to build a Russian Orthodox cathedral in a popular park will be cancelled after protests that drew nationwide attention. A new site will be chosen.

Unsanctioned demonstrations in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg were held for several consecutive days — a rare show of defiance in Russia where harsh laws handing out criminal punishments for taking part in unsanctioned rallies have discouraged many from joining them.

President Vladimir Putin last week called for a compromise, suggesting an opinion survey to determine public attitudes about the project.

An opinion poll conducted by VTsIOM polling company showed the majority opposing the construction.

Gov. Yevgeny Kuivashev said on Instagram on Wednesday that a survey will determine an alternative site for the cathedral’s construction.

“We have moved past that conflict,” he said.

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