25 arrested at protest against road construction through primeval Moscow-area forest

MOSCOW — Police in a Moscow suburb have arrested about 25 people taking part in an unsanctioned demonstration against building a highway through an old-growth forest.

Plans to cut down sections of the forest in Khimki, just north of Moscow, have sparked protests for several years. Some journalists who have covered the controversy have been severely beaten, including one who was left brain-damaged and mute after a 2008 attack.

Opponents say those involved in the highway construction have high-level government contacts. The roadbuilding industry is seen as among Russia’s most corrupt.

The ITAR-Tass news agency quoted Moscow regional police spokesman Yevgeny Gildeyev as saying the demonstrators were arrested Sunday after disobeying orders to disperse. The opposition party Yabloko said in a statement that police beat many of the demonstrators.

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