November 30, 2014 / 3:07 PM / 3 years ago

Russians march through Moscow to protest healthcare reforms

An activist wears a skull mask as he stands near a cart with a fake coffin reading "There was no hospital bed for me" during a protest in support of Russian doctors and patients against reforms to the healthcare system in Moscow, November 30, 2014. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Over a thousand Russians marched through central Moscow on Sunday to protest against reforms to the healthcare system and to demand better wages and working conditions for doctors.

Russian media says more than 7,000 doctors might lose their job as part of the reform, with some 28 hospitals and clinics set to close in Moscow alone in the next few months. Officials say the re-organization is aimed at increasing efficiency.

The protesters, many of them doctors and healthworkers, chanted slogans and carried banners, including one that read: “Doctors and patients, unite!”

A Reuters cameraman estimated that as many as 3,000 people took part in the rare public protest, which was sanctioned by Russian authorities. Moscow police told Russian news agencies that around 1,500 protesters had attended the march.

Similar protests against the reforms took place in St. Petersburg, Vladivostok and other Russian cities over the weekend, Russian news agencies reported.

Reporting by Mikhail Antonov; Writing by Alexander Winning; Editing by Crispian Balmer

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