Moscow police close square; fear new racist riots

January 11, 2011 18:10

MOSCOW  — Russian police have cordoned off part of a public square outside the Kremlin walls, fearing a repeat of last month's riots by ultra-nationalists who protested the presence of non-Slavs in the country.

On Dec. 11, up to 5,000 rioters chanting "Russia for Russians" beat dark-skinned passers-by and clashed with police. The riots were a reaction to the killing of a white Russian soccer fan during a fight with people from the south of the country.At least 30 police trucks skirted Manezh Square on Tuesday in response to internet threats by ultra-nationalists to gather again, and a nearby shopping mall was evacuated.

In response to the violence, the Kremlin has proposed controlling movement into the big cities and toughening punishment for unauthorized protests.

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