Hundreds protest in Moscow against journalist attacks

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Around 200 people protested in the centre of Moscow on Sunday to demand a halt to attacks on Russian journalists and activists after a string of assaults on reporters, an AFP correspondent said.

The demonstration remembered an attack two years ago on suburban Moscow journalist Mikhail Beketov which left him in a coma for several months and forced the amputation of a leg and fingers.

He had followed controversial plans to build a highway through Khimki forest outside Moscow. Journalist for Kommersant daily Oleg Kashin and activist Konstantin Fetisov, both severely beaten this month, had also covered the same issue.

"Searching for the truth is a path towards death," said a slogan on one of the banners at the demonstration.

"Do not lay a hand on journalists and activists," Yevgenia Chirikova, who has spearheaded the movement against the construction of the Khimki forest, told the rally.

Kashin's condition is improving after being brought out of an induced coma but Fetisov remains in a coma more than a week after his own beating, hospital officials have said.

© 2010 AFP

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