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.
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.