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    Moscow protest demands action over journalist assaults

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    Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Moscow on Sunday to demand that police find those behind last week's brutal attack on Kremlin critic Oleg Kashin.

    Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Moscow on Sunday to demand that police find those behind last week's brutal attack on Kremlin critic Oleg Kashin.

    Kashin, a reporter with the respected Kommersant daily, was brutally beaten outside his home last Saturday. CCTV footage of the assault shows two men using an iron bar to smash his hands, legs and jaw.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered an investigation into the attack. Kashin's colleagues, however, have doubted the culprits will be found.

    "The society should follow the course of the investigation and remind the police that the case... should not be hushed up," said Igor Yakovlev, the spokesman for the opposition Yabloko party that organized the protest.

    It is widely assumed that Kashin was targeted in revenge for his writing on sensitive social issues, including plans to build a motorway from Moscow to St. Petersburg through a centuries-old Khimki forest. The project was put on hold by Medvedev in the summer.

    Another campaigner against the motorway, Konstantin Fetisov, was attacked in Khimki days before Kashin's beating.

    Two years ago, Mikhail Beketov, a local newspaper editor, was nearly killed outside his home in Khimki for speaking out against the motorway. The style of attack was much similar to that on Kashin.

    There have been scores of unsolved killings of reporters in Russia in recent years, including most infamously, that of Anna Politkovskaya, a fierce Kremlin critic, who was shot dead in her apartment block on Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's birthday four years ago.

     

    MOSCOW, November 14 (RIA Novosti)

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