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Russian investigators examine the site of a fracas that took place in the village of Chemodanovka on June 13

A court in Russia has ordered that 27 suspects be held in pretrial detention following a deadly brawl between representatives of the Roma ethnic group and other residents, mainly Russians, in the Penza region southeast of Moscow.

Officials of the Pervomaisky district court in the city of Penza said on June 18 that the suspects would be held for two months while an investigation into the incident proceeds.

It is not clear what exactly sparked the mass brawl in the village of Chemodanovka on June 13, which left one person dead and four wounded.

Some media reports quoted law enforcement sources as saying that a conflict between children touched off the melee, which ended with police arresting some 170 people.

On June 17, Chemodanovka Council leader Sergei Fadeyev said that after the brawl, all Roma families in the village and the nearby settlement of Lopatki had "voluntarily" left their homes for an unknown destination.

Chemodanovka is about 560 kilometers southeast of Moscow.
Chemodanovka is about 560 kilometers southeast of Moscow.

​The regional government's office said the same day that some 130 Roma houses were vacated. No official reason was given for why the Roma families left, but the RIA Novosti news agency reported that Fadeev denied reports they were forced out.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on June 17 that President Vladimir Putin had been informed about the situation in Chemodanovka and that the situation was under control.

Roma, members of an ethnic group who frequently live on the margins of society, are often the victims of discrimination, prejudice, and hate in many parts of Europe, particularly in the east, including Russia and other former Soviet republics.

Based on reporting by Meduza, RIA Novosti, TASS, and Interfax
Kazakh police detain a demonstrator in Almaty on June 12.

ASTANA -- Kazakh Interior Minister Erlan Turghymbaev says the number of protesters detained during five days of rallies against the results of a recent presidential election has risen to almost 4,000.

Turghymbaev told reporters in Nur-Sultan on June 18 that rallies following the June 9 snap election were illegal as they had not been approved by the authorities.

He added that the majority of the detained protesters were released, while 677 individuals were sentenced to up to 15 days in jail and 305 persons were fined.

"Police did not use special equipment against the demonstrators. Neither tear gas, nor rubber batons, were used.... Nearly 4,000 people were detained," Turghymbaev said.

Thousands of citizens have taken to the streets of Nur-Sultan, Almaty, and some other cities in Kazakhstan to condemn a vote that gave Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev, the handpicked successor of former authoritarian President Nursultan Nazarbaev, an overwhelming victory.

The demonstrators say the election, which Toqaev won with 71 percent of the vote, was rigged.

Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have criticized the vote, saying that "a lack of regard for fundamental rights, including detentions of peaceful protesters, and widespread voting irregularities on election day, showed scant respect for democratic standards."

On June 13, the UN Human Rights Office expressed concerns "about the significant scale of arrests and convictions for peaceful and legitimate expression of political opinion and dissent."

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