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Khimki Forest Defenders' Leader Detained In Moscow

Interior Ministry officers detain environmental activist Yevgenia Chirikova during a protest against the construction of a motorway through Khimki Forest.
MOSCOW -- Police in Moscow have detained Khimki Forest Defenders movement leader Yevgenia Chirikova, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Chirikova told RFE/RL that she and Mikhail Yuritsyn, an activist of the Tsagov forest defenders' movement in the town of Zhukovsky near Moscow, were arrested after they participated in a flash-mob performance mocking the upcoming 2012 presidential elections in Russia.

The participants in the flash-mob were also collecting signatures for a petition calling on Khimki Mayor Vladimir Strelchenko's resignation.

Police took the two detained activists to Moscow's Kitai-Gorod district interior affairs department.

Chirikova was later reportedly released.

Chirikova leads the movement that has been struggling to stop construction of the new Moscow-St. Petersburg highway through the thick and unique forest near the town of Khimki in Moscow's outskirts.

President Dmitry Medvedev earlier this year suspended construction of the highway following months of protests, but a government commission last week gave the project the green light.

Read in Russian here.