100,000 march as Moscow revives May Day tradition

Associated Press
People walk with flags and balloons towards St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square during a rally in Moscow
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People walk with flags and balloons towards St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square during a rally in Moscow May 1, 2014. Russians celebrate the coming of Spring and since communist times, Labour Day on the first day of May. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov (RUSSIA - Tags: SOCIETY BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT)

MOSCOW (AP) — About 100,000 people have marched through Red Square to celebrate May Day, the first time the annual parade has been held on the vast cobblestoned square outside the Kremlin since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

In keeping with Soviet-era traditions, Thursday's parade was organized by trade unions and honored the working man. But it also celebrated Russia's annexation of Crimea and was seen as part of President Vladimir Putin's efforts to stoke patriotic feelings.

Marchers held up signs saying "Let's go to Crimea for vacation" and "Putin is right." Russian flags fluttered through the crowd.

In past years, Communists and others have tried to keep up the May Day tradition with parades and rallies in central Moscow, but their numbers have steadily dwindled.

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