20 held in Moscow anti-crime rally

19th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Moscow police detained more than 20 people at a rally commemorating the murder two years ago of a popular human rights lawyer and an opposition journalist, news reports said.

About 1,000 mainly younger people carrying photos of the two victims and signs of anti-far right movements marched from the scene of the killings in central Moscow to Pushkin square, an AFP photographer saw.

News agency reports quoting Moscow police said 21 people were held for questioning, notably because they were masked.

Rallies were also held in Saint Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, Ria-Novosti said.

Lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasya Baburova, an intern at the opposition Novaya Gazeta newspaper, were killed in January 2009 when they were headed to the Moscow metro after a news conference.

Markelov became famous for defending the victims of Russian crackdowns in restive Chechnya, as well as journalists Anna Politkovskaya, assassinated in 2006, and Mikhail Beketov, who was seriously wounded in an attack in 2008.

He also regularly defended anti-fascist activists.

Two alleged members of an ultranationalist group, Nikita Tikhonov, 24 at the time, and his girlfriend Yevgenia Khasis, 29, have been standing trial for murder since January 11.

© 2011 AFP

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