Hundreds protest against Russian government

December 12, 2010 21:17

MOSCOW — Hundreds of people protested against the Russian government Sunday at two separate rallies in Moscow, with opposition activists calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and nationalists demanding greater rights for ethnic Russians. Several opposition activists were detained.

A third rally with nationalist overtones drew more than 1,000 students in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, raising fears that long-standing ethnic tensions were reaching a boiling point.

The rallies followed violent clashes Saturday just outside the Kremlin walls between riot police and about 5,000 football fans and nationalists, who shouted "Russia for Russians." Police said 34 people were injured; six of them were still hospitalized on Sunday. All 65 people detained during the clashes have been released.

The police crackdown further angered Slavic Russians who resent the growing presence of dark-complexioned people from Russia's predominantly Muslim republics in the Caucasus.

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