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Hundreds march in memory of slain Russian lawyer and journalist

January 19, 2015

Hundreds of Russians marched in Moscow and Saint Petersburg on Monday, six years after a lawyer and reporter were murdered by ultra-nationalists.

About 500 people walked through central Moscow mourning slain lawyer Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova, a journalist with an opposition paper, who were gunned down on a central Moscow street in broad daylight on January 19, 2009.

Some held anti-fascist posters like “No to fascism” and signs “I am Markelov” and “I am Baburova” — in a nod to the “I am Charlie” campaign — along with a big banner with the Nazi swastika crossed out.

They briefly came across a small group of Kremlin supporters who tried to stop them by yelling “No to Maidan”, a reference to the opposition rallies that toppled the Ukrainian regime of ex-president Viktor Yanukovych.

Russia’s anti-fascists — an opposition group who have often clashed with ultra-nationalists — have accused the Russian authorities of targeting them and allowing xenophobia and homophobia to flourish in the country.

They stage annual protests on the day of the murders of Baburova, who wrote for Novaya Gazeta newspaper, and Markelov, who frequently represented anti-fascist activists in court.

The crowd walked through central Moscow to lay flowers and candles near the place where the two were killed while walking from a press conference.

A Russian nationalist Nikita Tikhonov is currently serving a life sentence for the crime while his co-accused Yevgenia Khasis was sent to a penal colony for 18 years.

A smaller rally of about 300 people convened in Saint Petersburg.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.