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U.S. Animal-Rights Activists Face Trial Over Moscow Protest

PETA activists Tracy Patton (left) and Meggan Anderson rally near the International Trade Center in Moscow on October 19.
PETA activists Tracy Patton (left) and Meggan Anderson rally near the International Trade Center in Moscow on October 19.
MOSCOW -- Two U.S. animal-rights activists are facing trial after being detained at a Moscow protest where they planned to take off their clothes to make their point, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Tracy Patton and Meggan Anderson of the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) were detained in the Russian capital on October 19.

The two travelled to Moscow to protest the use of leather and animal fur in the fashion industry under the slogan "Wear your own skin," pegged to the opening of Russian Fashion Week at Moscow's International Trade Center.

Patton and Anderson, along with their Russian colleagues, arrived at the International Trade Center on Moscow's Krasnaya Presnya Embankment at around noon, intending to strip to their underwear and distribute leaflets highlighting cruelty to animals bred for their skins or pelts.

Yelena Nadezhkina, a coordinator for the Moscow-based information center Save the Animals, told RFE/RL the two women were unable to disrobe as planned as police intervened almost immediately. Nadezhkina said police had never disrupted previous such protests in Moscow.

Moscow Internal Affairs Directorate spokesman Anatoly Lastovetsky told RFE/RL the event was stopped because the Moscow city authorities did not issue permission to hold it.

Patton and Anderson said there was a misunderstanding. They say they sent a letter beforehand informing the Moscow mayor's office of their intention to hold the protest, but did not realize they needed to obtain official permission to do so.

Patton and Anderson were later released from detention. They are to be tried for violating the law on mass gatherings, for which they face a possible fine.

U.S. Embassy officials told RFE/RL they were monitoring the situation.

Patton told RFE/RL that PETA was planning similar protests in St. Petersburg and Tallinn, Estonia. She said PETA was currently in talks with St. Petersburg city officials.

PETA is an international organization that campaigns to protect animal rights. Its supporters include such celebrities as Pamela Anderson and Paul McCartney.

Read more in Russian here