Football fans` protest ends in central Moscow, 65 detained

Police has detained 65 football fans in central Moscow for disobedience, city police spokesman Viktor Biryukov said.

Moscow: Police has detained 65 football fans in central Moscow for disobedience, city police spokesman Viktor Biryukov said.

Some 5,000 people had come to the square yesterday, but police stopped their attempt to begin public disturbances.

Fans had started a fight with men from the Caucasus in central Manezh Square outside the Kremlin. Several hundred football fans chanted nationalist slogans. Reports said OMON anti-riot police had to use batons to disperse the crowd that was trying to move into the road and block traffic. The fans
threw flares and smoke pellets at police.

They broke a Christmas tree in the square and used its decorations amd elements along with rocks and flares against police. Fracases broke out now and then between football fans and police. Traffic was partially blocked. Some policemen were injured.

Police detained several dozen fans and urged the rest through a megaphone to walk away, warning that otherwise they would use force.

City police chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev arrived at the scene. He addressed the crowd, urging the fans to go home.

"You have let the steam out. Now you`d better go home and let us investigate that crime calmly," he said.

The fans gathered in the square in memory of their colleague, Yegor Sviridov, who had been killed in northern Moscow on December 6 by a group of men from the Caucasus.

Kolokoltsev said Interior Ministry Public Order Department Head Yuri Demidov gave "exhaustive answers" to
football fans` questions, Biryukov said, adding, "After that, they calmed down."

Earlier in the day, some three thousand football fans came to the place where Sviridov had been killed to lay flowers.

The situation has now stabilised, fracases hadvestopped. Some 300 people remain in the square.

But as the crowd left the square, it headed for the subway, crushing everything on its way. They broke almost all lamps in the escalators at the nearest subway station and smashed windows in the train that was standing at the platform. No one was detained. Anti-riot police with shields and in helmets were sent down into the subway.

Biryukov confirmed a minor scuffle between football fans and police on the subway. He said, however, that the incident had been quickly localised and the young people, escorted by police, began to leave the station.

Kolokoltsev said the detained football fans would be set free after necessary inquiries were made. "We know the persons who tried to organise provocative actions. We will have to look into that," he said. (Itar-Tass)