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Moscow Bans Khimki Protest Concert

Demonstrators gather signatures in defense of the Khimki forest during a rally in Moscow on July 26.
MOSCOW -- Moscow authorities have banned a protest concert planned for this weekend against the destruction of a forest outside the Russian capital.

City authorities today said they had granted permission only for a rally, and not a concert in defense of Khimki forest that organizers planned for August 22.

The deputy head of the mayor's press office, Aleksandr Khokhlov, told Interfax that in principle the city government had no problem with concerts, but the organizers did not submit the necessary documents on time.

Yevgenia Chirikova, head of the group Save Khimki Forest, told RFE/RL's Russian Service: "We aren't planning on holding a concert. We are planning to hold a rally. If musicians want to sing after the discussion, that's their right."

Several famous Russian bands were scheduled to perform at the concert on Moscow's central Pushkin Square, the latest in a series of meetings and protests to save Khimki forest.

Campaigners are trying to persuade the authorities to stop logging an area of the Khimki forest that is slated to be used to build a section of the Moscow-St. Petersburg highway.