MOSCOW — Several thousand people rallied Sunday in Moscow to protest the ethnic clashes that have rocked Russia, holding posters reading "Fascists disgrace Russia" and chanting "No to Fascism!"
The rally in downtown Moscow was organized by civil groups in response to the Dec. 11 riots when thousands of Slavic nationalists and sports fans poured into the streets chanting "Russia for Russians!" The rioters clashed with police and beat members of ethnic groups from the Caucasus region.
The violence just outside the Kremlin raised doubts about the government's ability to stem a rising tide of xenophobia. Police arrested hundreds to prevent more clashes in the following days in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
"In Russia, each and every town or village is multi-ethnic, and any flare-up of nationalism in Russia will destroy the country," opposition leader Vladimir Ryzhkov told the rally.