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Bikers Charged Over Protest in Central Moscow

Members of the Three Roads motorcycle club protesting in support of a member they believe was wrongfully charged. Motocitizen

Nine motorcyclists who blocked a section of Moscow's Garden Ring to protest a criminal case against a motorcycle club leader have been charged with violating parking rules and public event regulations, the police said in a statement.

Carrying signs that read "Free Self-Defense Hero Yury Nekrasov," the men blocked Zubovsky Boulevard, paralyzing rush-hour traffic on Thursday, to demand his release from pre-trial detention.

The police have released the nine protesters until their trial, RIA Novosti reported.

Nekrasov, a prominent activist in the Three Roads biker club, has been charged on suspicion of shooting to death a member of the Night Wolves, Russia's oldest and largest motor club and a rival of Three Roads. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

Both sides maintain that their comrades acted in self-defense during a rumble at a celebration hosted by the Three Roads in the Moscow region town of Zelenograd in October, 2012.

Pavel Soskov, one of the leaders of a road assistance volunteer program, said that the investigation may have been slanted by the political connections of the shooting victim's club, which has been visited by President Vladimir Putin.

"This mess, it can't be happening out of nothing," Soskov told Dozhd television in an interview Thursday. "There might be something … perhaps not quite legal."

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