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Russian Activists Protest Highway Construction Through National Park

Russian environmentalist Yevgeniya Chirikova met today with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
Russian environmentalist Yevgeniya Chirikova met today with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
Moscow saw its second day of protests against plans to build a new highway through a nearby national park, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The demonstration, by members of the opposition Yabloko party, was held outside the Moscow headquarters of the ruling United Russia party.

Protesters said they chose the location to let Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin know of their opposition to a plan to build part of a new Moscow-St. Petersburg highway through the Zavidovo National Park.

On March 9, environmentalists associated with Yabloko staged a number of individual protests in Moscow near the building of the Federal Guard Service, which provides security for top officials.

The protesters say the local government plans to start construction of the new highway through Zavidovo, where the official residence of the Russian president and a recreation center for Foreign Ministry employees are located.

They say environmental regulations forbid any construction work on the park's territory. They also say local authorities should consider alternative routes for the proposed new highway.

Activists from the Defenders of the Khimki Forest movement announced today they will join the Yabloko activists and hold a similar picket in front of United Russia's party headquarters.

The movement has been fighting to stop construction of the Moscow-St. Petersburg highway across forests and parkland near the town of Khimki, in Moscow Oblast.

Visiting U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met with Yevgeniya Chirikova, who heads the Defenders of the Khimki Forest movement, in Moscow today and promised to raise the issue during his talks with Putin.

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