Russia arrests a dozen at environment protest: AFP
Russian security forces on Thursday arrested a dozen demonstrators gathering signatures at government headquarters for a petition opposing the construction of a road through a Moscow forest.
The police arrested the protesters in front of the White House, the massive headquarters of the government headed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, after they placed logs outside one of its entrances, an AFP journalist reported.
The protesters, many of whom were from the far-left Left Front party, want the authorities to halt the construction of a new Moscow-Saint Petersburg highway through the Khimki forest outside Moscow.
"I am shocked that people could be arrested next to the White House because they wanted to present a letter," said Yevgenia Chirikova, a representative of the movement for the defence of Khimki forest.
"Let's build a motorway to Saint Petersburg but use another route. We must have dialogue," she said.
The Russian police regularly break up demonstrations deemed to be unsanctioned although the opposition says the right to freedom of assembly is enshrined under the Russian constitution.
© 2010 AFP