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100,000 march on Red Square as Moscow revives Soviet-era May Day tradition, celebrates Crimea

People with Russian flags and posters reading

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People with Russian flags and posters reading "Putin is Right" and "We will spend vacation in Crimea" march during the May Day celebration at the Red Square in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, May 1, 2014. According to official reports about one hundred thousand people took part in first May Day demonstration at the Red Square since the fall of the Soviet Union. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

MOSCOW - 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 honoured 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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