Russian officials shelve plan to close children's cancer clinic after public outcry

Russian officials have backed off on a plan to shut a clinic specialized in treating children with cancer in order to turn it into a medical center for the nation's top judges.

The St. Petersburg governor's office said Wednesday that City Hospital No. 31 will continue to serve patients as before. The Kremlin's property department also issued assurances that the hospital will not be used to serve members of Russia's top courts, which are being relocated from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

The plan to shut down the clinic caused outrage, with more than 100,000 people signing a petition to President Vladimir Putin urging him to scrap it. Some activists said they still distrust official assurances and would go ahead with a protest Wednesday.