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Several Khimki Forest Defenders Detained

Environmental activist Yevgenia Chirikova is among the detainees.

Environmental activist Yevgenia Chirikova is among the detainees.

KHIMKI, Russia -- Police have detained at least seven activists from the Defenders of the Khimki Forest protest group, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports.

Sergei Udaltsov of the opposition Left Front movement told RFE/RL that Yevgenia Chirikova, the leader of the protest group, is among those detained.

Udaltsov said the activists were detained when they tried to stop deforestation operations resumed by constructors of the planned new Moscow-St. Petersburg highway.

"We had to hold on to the trees and throw ourselves under the chainsaws," he said.

"We made the felling stop for five minutes, but then the police arrived and took us away, twisting our arms. They arrested almost everyone who was trying to stop the felling."

Chirikova confirmed her detention via her Twitter account, urging fellow activists not to give up their fight.

There has been no comment from Russian law enforcement agencies.

Chirikova's movement has been trying to persuade the Moscow authorities to cancel plans to route the highway through the unique, dense forest in the vicinity of the town of Khimki near Moscow.

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