Over 700 prevented arrests made as ethnic tension mounts

Last Updated: Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 00:42

Moscow: Over 700 youth -- mostly Slavic
Russians and migrants from the country`s predominantly Muslim
North Caucasus -- were arrested at several busy joints here by
police who moved to prevent possible ethnic clashes after
racist rioting created tensions over the weekend.

"At least 770 youth, most of them carrying non-lethal
guns, knives and electric shockers were detained," Moscow
Police spokesman, Col Viktor Biryukov told reporters.

Thousands of riot police were deployed around central
Moscow to thwart any rioting as rumours mounted that some
sections might retaliate.

The police detained at least 400 extremist youth from
both the communities at the Kiev Railway Station square in
front of Evropeisky shopping mall, where at least 10,000
Caucasians were expected to converge to avenge the beating of
coloured people by the Russian ultra-nationalists on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Rossiya 24 channel has reported that
clashes took place between Caucasian and Russian youth at
Smolenskaya Square near the Foreign Ministry.

The Asian and African embassies, including the Indian
mission, have advised their citizens to avoid busy places and
take precautions.

The weekend riots were the result of a growing
resentment among the Slavic Russians over the increasing
presence in the region of people from the southern Caucasus
region, mostly Muslims.

Violent riots broke out in Moscow last Saturday as
police dispersed protests against the killing of a Moscow
football fan. Yegor Sviridov, 28, was killed during a brawl
between fans of "Spartak" football club and internal migrants
from Russia`s pre-dominant Muslim Caucasian regions.

An ensuing demonstration turned racist after some
coloured and Asian passers by were beaten up by protesters,
following which tensions mounted in the capital.

President Dmitry Medvedev warned that such riots
threatened "the stability of the state."

The riots have sparked a new wave of inter-ethnic
enmity in Moscow, home to hundreds of thousands of working
migrants from the violence-wracked North Caucasus region.

In a joint statement, the heads of Russia`s Orthodox
Church and Muslim mufti council pleaded for calm.


First Published: Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 00:42

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