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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Alexeyeva, Skipping Anti-Kremlin Rally, Is Struck in Head

APPro-Kremlin youth activists hold Russian flags during a rally against terrorism in central Moscow, Wednesday, March 31, 2010.

Veteran human rights campaigner Lyudmila Alexeyeva was struck in the head as she laid flowers for bombing victims in the Park Kultury metro station late Wednesday instead of attending an anti-Kremlin rally.

The 82-year-old activist said the attacker — a young man — approached and asked, "Are you still alive?" before hitting her. Footage of the incident is visible here.

"I'm alive. Maybe I have got a slight concussion," Alexeyeva said shortly after the incident, Interfax reported.

The unidentified man was detained by the police, the report said.

Alexeyeva had decided to pay tribute to the 39 people who died when two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the Park Kultury and Lubyanka metro stations on Monday instead of joining opposition activists at a rally on Triumfalnaya Ploshchad.

The absence of Alexeyeva — as well as Solidarity opposition leaders Boris Nemtsov, Ilya Yashin and Vladimir Milov, who said in a statement that the time was not right for "bloody PR" — meant that plans for the rally fizzled.

It didn't help matters that about 3,000 young people crowded onto the square for a sanctioned concert organized by pro-Kremlin youth groups, and the 2,000 police officers guarding the area quickly detained Eduard Limonov, a leader of the Other Russia opposition group, and several dozen opposition activists who showed up.

Limonov said Tuesday that the rally had to go ahead despite the bombings. "The battle for freedom and the Constitution cannot be suspended for holidays or even a day of mourning," Limonov wrote in his blog. "Freedom is more important than grief."

Opposition politicians and human rights activists have gathered on the square on the 31st day of every month to call attention to Article 31 of the Russian Constitution, which provides the right of free assembly.

The activists say the authorities, who have refused to authorize the rallies, have violated the Constitution by not allowing them to protest. Previous protests have been broken up by police.

Several dozen Other Russia activists exited the Mayakovskaya metro station on Wednesday evening and were quickly detained by police, Interfax reported. The activists were whisked away as music blared across the nearby square from the pro-Kremlin youth concert, dubbed "Youth Against Terror," the report said.

City Hall, which authorized the concert, criticized the opposition's attempt to rally, saying in a statement that the opposition cared too much about "political ambitions."

Earlier Wednesday, the pro-Kremlin youth group Young Guard set up a mobile blood center on Triumfalnaya Ploshchad to collect blood for people injured in the bombings. Dozens of people lined up outside the van in the morning.

But not all people who wanted to donate blood are allowed to do so. The law requires that donors be Russian citizens with Moscow residency permits — a precaution in case doctors need to trace the donor at a later date.

"I tried to donate blood on Tuesday but was told that no foreigners are accepted — with no reason mentioned," said Francois Nonnenmacher, a French citizen who has worked as a consultant in Moscow for the past five years. "My blood is from a rare group and, besides, I have to take blood tests regularly to get a work permit."