Football fans, anti-riot police clash in Moscow

Updated: 2010-12-12 08:13


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Football fans, anti-riot police clash in Moscow
Police clash with football fans and right wing protesters during a rally in central Moscow Dec 11, 2010. [Photo/Agencies]

MOSCOW - Police clashed with thousands of soccer fans and nationalists who gathered near the Kremlin on Saturday to protest the fatal shooting of a man on the streets of Moscow. At least three people were reported injured and 65 detained.

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The crowd of more than 2,000 was distraught over the death on Monday of Yegor Svidorov, a member of the Spartak team's fan organization, who was shot with rubber bullets Monday in a fight at a bus stop.

A suspect arrested in the shooting is from Kabardino-Balkaria in the Caucasus. That fanned the persistent resentment that many Slavic Russians hold for the dark-complexioned Caucasus ethnic groups.

A Moscow court on Saturday also authorized the arrest of two other suspects, both from the Caucasus region of Dagestan.

The demonstrators on Manezh Square next to the Kremlin shouted nationalist invective such as "Russia for Russians" and shouted abuse at police in riot gear who were trying to control the crowd.

Demonstrators threw flares at the police and some stripped large ornaments off a Christmas tree in the square to fling at the officers.

When the crowd tried to break through the police line, police waded in, swinging batons and trying to disperse the demonstrators.

The state news agency RIA Novosti said at least three people were seriously injured. Police spokesman Viktor Biryukov was quoted by Russian media as saying 65 people had been detained.

Moscow police chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev met with leaders of the demonstrators and promised Svidorov's death would be thoroughly investigated. Most of the crowd dispersed about an hour after the violence began.

However, Interfax reported that some demonstrators later clashed with police at a subway station below the square after trying to storm a train on which they'd spotted a passenger who appeared to be of Caucasus origin.

Earlier Saturday, several thousand mourners gathered at the bus stop in northern Moscow where Sviridov was killed to lay flowers.

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