December 10, 2013
Over 1,500 migrants rounded up after ethnic riots in Moscow
Russian police rounded up more than 1,600 migrants in Moscow after rioting swept through a southern neighbourhood over a fatal stabbing of a Russian that many residents blame on a man from the Caucasus region.
Advocacy groups warned migrants from Russia's mainly Muslim Caucasus region and Central Asia of an increased risk of attacks in the worst ethnic disturbance in Moscow in three years. Authorities stepped up police patrols in the capital.
Some 200 residents rallied in the Biryulyovo district to call for tougher policing of labour migrants, in a second day of protests over the stabbing death of an ethnic Russian, 25-year-old Yegor Shcherbakov.
Police detained ten people, local media reported
A bigger protest a day earlier had turned to violent riots.
"We are scared to walk the streets at night," blond-haired resident, Alexei Zhuravlyov, said. "They (migrants) are always attacking, stealing from and killing people. They don't even abide by basic rules like stopping at a red light."
Migrant labour has played a significant role in Russia's transformation during an oil-fuelled economic boom that took off around the time President Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000.
But many in Moscow are uneasy at the influx of migrants from Russia's heavily Muslim North Caucasus and ex-Soviet states of the Caucasus and Central Asia, although many do low-paying jobs, such as in construction, that few local residents want.
"They come here and act as if it were their home," local Biryulyovo resident Tatiana said.
In an apparent attempt to appease residents, police said they rounded up some 1,200 people detained at a wholesale vegetable market that had been stormed on Sunday night.
Another 450 were detained in northeastern Moscow, also near a vegetable market employing migrant workers.
Police said they were all detained to check whether they were involved in any wrongdoing, but they have not been accused of any specific crime. Footage showed detainees standing against walls or lined up in front of camouflage-clad police.