Over 700 prevented arrests made as ethnic tension mounts
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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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