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Muscovites Protest War On 2nd Anniversary Of Siege

23 October 2004 -- Some 200 demonstrators gathered in central Moscow today to protest the war in Chechnya, as Russia marked the second anniversary of the Dubrovka theater siege staged by Chechen militants.

Carrying signs reading "Defend Our Freedom -- No Terror in Russia," the demonstrators urged an end to Russia's five-year war in the North Caucasus republic.

It is Moscow's second war in a decade aimed at defeating pro-independence Chechen rebels. Russian President Vladimir Putin has refused to negotiate with the rebels.

Chechen militants claimed responsibility for September's school hostage tragedy in Beslan, in southern Russia, which left some 430 people dead.

Nearly 130 people were killed during the Moscow theater siege in 2002, most from the effects of a narcotic gas used by Russian security forces to subdue the hostage takers.