Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Russian nationalist groups marched in the streets Monday for National Unity Day, a holiday established in 2005 by President Vladimir Putin.
Ring-wing, nationalist and monarchist groups use the day to protest immigrants and minority groups. Most Russians have the day off. It replaces the post-Soviet Day of Accord and Reconciliation established by former President Boris Yeltsin. During the Soviet era, the holiday was called Revolution Day to mark the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.
The demonstrations sometimes end in clashes with police.
In Moscow, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin refused to issue a permit to organizers of the "Russian March" but did issue a permit for a protest in the same location under the name "Right March."
The Russian Public Opinion Research Center published a survey on Thursday that found 37 percent of Russians believe in national unity while 54 percent disagree with it. Participation has dwindled in recent years with only a few hundred marching in 2018 compared to 25,000 in 2011.
"The biggest problem of National Unity Day is that no one really understands the purpose of it," Russian political blogger Ilya Varlamov posted on Instagram Monday.