Russian opposition activist beaten after protest: campaigner

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A Russian opposition activist has been hospitalised after sustaining head injuries when a group of thugs beat him up following a protest, fellow campaigners said on Friday.

Konstantin Fetisov, head of the local branch of the opposition Right Cause party for the district of Khimki outside Moscow, was beaten after attending a protest Thursday against the dumping of household waste in the area.

"An official from the Khimki administration showed up and ordered his arrest," fellow Khimki activist Yaroslav Nikitenko told Interfax news agency.

"After Fetisov was released from the police station, some unidentified people assaulted him and he has a skull fracture."

Khimki has been the focus of opposition protests for months over plans to build a highway through a forest. President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered a review of the project in a rare nod by the elite to popular pressure.

Yevgenia Chirikova, the activist who spearheaded opposition to the road, told Moscow Echo radio that Fetisov had undergone a successful operation but complained police had made no effort to appear on the scene of the crime.

Local newspaper editor Mikhail Beketov, who had been highly critical of the local administration, was assaulted in November 2008 and forced to have a leg and several fingers amputated.

© 2010 AFP

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