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Moscow District Erupts Over Death Blamed On Immigrants

  • RFE/RL's Russian Service

After a peaceful demonstration earlier in the day in the Biryulevo neighborhood of Moscow, gangs of mostly young men broke shop windows and inflicted other damage on the area, many of them chanting nationalistic slogans as the unrest mounted.

After a peaceful demonstration earlier in the day in the Biryulevo neighborhood of Moscow, gangs of mostly young men broke shop windows and inflicted other damage on the area, many of them chanting nationalistic slogans as the unrest mounted.

Police reinforcements have been deployed to a Moscow neighborhood that was hit by weekend rioting over the death of a young man days earlier that local residents blamed on immigrants.

The rioting broke out after a rally in the Biryulevo district of the capital on October 13 to demand more action from authorities to apprehend the unidentified assailant.

A group of protesters, some chanting racist slogans, broke into a shopping center, smashing windows.

Others tried to storm a vegetable warehouse that employs migrant workers but were pushed back by police.

An amateur photo provided to RFE/RL's Russian Service from the scene of unrest in Biryulevo, on the outskirts of the capital on October 13.

An amateur photo provided to RFE/RL's Russian Service from the scene of unrest in Biryulevo, on the outskirts of the capital on October 13.

Clashes broke out after riot police detained a number of demonstrators. Protesters threw bottles at police and tried to block roads with garbage bins. At least one police officer was reported injured.

Hundreds of people were reportedly involved in the unrest.

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Russia's interior minister called an emergency meeting with senior police officials late on October 13.

Three days earlier, a 25-year-old local resident, ethnic Russian Yegor Shcherbakov, was stabbed to death by a man residents said they believed to be from the North Caucasus.

Shcherbakov was reportedly killed as he was walking home with his girlfriend.

Young men near the scene in the Biryulevo neighborhood of Moscow on October 13 where gangs attacked a shopping center and clashed with police.

Young men near the scene in the Biryulevo neighborhood of Moscow on October 13 where gangs attacked a shopping center and clashed with police.

Aleksandr Polovinka, deputy chief of Moscow's southern police district, described the rally earlier on October 13 as peaceful.

"People who are not indifferent to the situation of public order protection in the areas where they live came [to the local police station and] we had a conversation," Polovinka said. "Perhaps it was rather stormy outside the station, but once we got inside and sat around the table it became much more substantive as we could calmly discuss problematic issues and make concrete decisions in order for us to somehow join our efforts in defense of law and order."

WATCH: The scenes from Biryulevo as police made arrests and regained control of the area overnight on October 13-14:


Several Russian lawmakers have voiced concern that the situation could further deteriorate.

"Perhaps it is worth thinking of reinstating municipal police," Mikhail Starshinov, the deputy chairman of Russian Duma's Committee on National Minorities, suggested. "It would be a kind of [citizens] militia, but its activities would have legal basis and authority. It would be made up of local residents aware of their responsibility to defend fellow citizens."

Investigators say they have questioned dozens of people over the deadly attack. Police have released a photograph of the suspect taken by a security camera.

Tensions between ethnic Russians and migrants and others from the Caucasus and Central Asia have occasionally erupted into violence in Moscow and other cities.

Media reports said police detained 200 people for violating public order in the October 13 unrest.

Police eventually moved to close off Moscow's Manezhnaya Square, apparently to prevent a repeat of 2010 riots when thousands of nationalists and soccer fans protested the killing of an ethnic Russian during a fight between soccer fans and natives of the North Caucasus.

With reporting by ITAR-TASS, lenta.ru, Reuters, and AP
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