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Police make mass arrests to prevent an ethnic riot in Moscow

Police in Moscow have arrested around 1,000 young people to prevent a repeat of last weekend's ethnic unrest between Russian nationalists and Muslims from the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Riot police detain a protester

Riot police detained protesters at Kievsky station

Russian police carried out a massive security operation in Moscow on Wednesday to prevent another ethnic riot following the shooting of a football fan on December 4, allegedly by a man from the Caucasus.

They arrested around 1,000 young people at the Kievsky railway station, where a big clash was reportedly being planned and organized over the Internet. Many of the youths chanted far-right slogans and raised their right arms in Nazi-style salutes. Police say they confiscated many weapons.

The police closed a major shopping mall and the subway station at the site, and passers-by were said to be fleeing the area.

The Kievsky station is a popular location for traders from the Caucasus to sell their wares.

The planned riot followed unrest last Saturday, in which some 5,000 football fans and members of far-right groups rioted outside the Kremlin. They were protesting police handling of the killing of the 28-year-old Spartak Moscow fan Yegor Sviridov the previous week.

Widespread resentment of immigrants

Gangs of Muslims were reported to be planning a counter-rally at the Kievsky station, and Russian nationalists were said to be preparing to clash with them.

According to reports, in spite of the police action, small groups fought with each other, using iron bars and baseball bats.

Similar events were reported from other cities, such as Saint Petersburg and Samara.

The unrest marks a new stage in the resentment of immigration to Russia's big cities from the southern republics and Central Asia. Every year dozens of immigrant workers, who are accused of taking jobs from local people at low rates of pay, are murdered.

The Moscow city administration has been under pressure to limit the number of migrants and to give their jobs to ethnic Russians.

Author; Michael Lawton (AFP, dpa, SID)
Editor: Rob Turner

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