African students hold pictures of foreigners killed in St. Petersburg, including Lamzar Samba and a nine-year-old Tajik girl, Khursheda Sultanova (RFE/RL)
ST. PETERSBURG, April 11, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Some 1,000 protesters took to the street today to denounce a wave of racist attacks in Saint Petersburg.
Protesters held pictures of foreigners who were killed in the city over recent years, and chanted "End fascism!" One banner read: "Saint Petersburg is a cemetery for foreigners."
Georges Nounga, the friend of an African student killed last week, called on the crowd of protesters to join forces against xenophobia.
"I think there isn't a single country in Africa or in Latin America where Russians are killed simply because they are Russian. That doesn't happen anywhere," Nounga said.
"What should be done?" he asked, answering his own question by saying "we must engage in dialogue, we must show that we are not satisfied."
Lamzar Samba, a communications student from Senegal, was shot dead on April 7 as he and a group of African students were leaving a night club in the center of St. Petersburg where they had been celebrating their university's faculty day. Police said they found a hunting gun emblazoned with a swastika near the scene.
On April 10, a 28-year-old St. Petersburg resident was detained in connection with the killing.
Samba's killing was the latest in a slew of racist attacks in St. Petersburg. According to the nongovernmental organization Sova, 14 people have been injured and two killed in racially motivated attacks in the city this year.
Yusuf Sultonov, whose 9-year-old daughter was beaten and stabbed to death in St. Petersburg on February 9, 2004 (TASS)
EXTREMISM ASCENDANT: More than half of Russians have xenophobic views, according to a report published in August 2005. In the report, rights groups say that -- despite progress in some areas -- racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism remain rife in Russia. But what worries watchdogs most are recent moves by nationalist-patriotic movements to form paramilitary groups....(more)
A Timeline Of Recent Racial Incidents
Russian Ombudsman Condemns Hate Crimes
Hate Crime Trial Highlights Mounting Racism
Minister Says Russia Can't Stop Xenophobia Alone
For African Students In Russia, Affordable Education Comes At A Price
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