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Thouands protest plan to shut Russian child cancer hospital

Published on Jan 22, 2013 7:23 PM

ST. PETERSBURG (AFP) - Thousands of Russians expressed outrage Tuesday after the authorities in the northwestern city of Saint Petersburg ordered the closure of a leading hospital renowned for treatment of children with cancer.

The authorities plan to move the patients out of the city's Hospital Number 31, including children with cancer, to other hospitals ahead of the clinic's planned handover to the judicial system for the use of its staff.

More than 150,000 people have signed a petition against the hospital closure, including Nobel Prize-winning physicist Jaures Alferov and popular actors Oleg Basilashvili and Chulpan Khamatova.

"This hospital is the last chance for many children, including my son Kirill... The state barely gives us any help, and in this case it is even doing the opposite of helping," said Oleg Kostin, whose 11-year-old son is a cancer patient at the hospital.

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