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Moscow police arrests 150 people to prevent downtown rally

Updated: 2011-01-12 15:54


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MOSCOW -- Moscow police has detained about 150 people, mostly young, on Tuesday evening in the downtown Manezh Square near Kremlin, in an effort to prevent a planned nationalist protest, according to local media reports.

"All of them were detained while coming from the Okhotny Ryad metro station to Manezh Square," said a police source as quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency.

One of the detained was Dmitry Dyomushkin, leader of an illegal nationalist organization called Slavic Union.
According to the RIA Novosti news agency, radical nationalists had planned a December 11 Movement rally named after the massive riots in the same place by nationalists and football mobs last month.

The rally claiming "Russia for Russians only" was scheduled for 7 p.m. Moscow time (1600 GMT) Tuesday at the Manezh Square.

Prior to the planned rally, Moscow police have cordoned off Manezh Square and the neighboring Red Square, barring all entrances. Heavy security forces were also deployed at the site.

The nearby Okhotny Ryad underground shopping center, which usually closes at 10 p.m. Moscow time (1900 GMT), had been closed some 3.5 hours earlier Tuesday. The GUM shopping mall on the Red Square, however, remained open.

Moscow city police spokesman Viktor Biryukov only confirmed the arrests of 10 people.

"At the moment it's difficult to say how many exactly have been arrested. It can be said that about 10 people have been arrested and sent to police stations in the central part of Moscow," said the spokesman as cited by the Interfax news agency.

He meanwhile did not specify the reasons behind such arrests, saying all might be clear on Wednesday.
"The police are on alert, the entire city is under control," he added.

The issue of race hate violence has drawn wide attention in Russia recently. Last month, two massive riots broke out in downtown Moscow ignited by some conflicts between ethnic Russians and internal migrants.


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