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Russian Authorities Mass Arrest Alleged Migrants Following Anti-Migrant Protests

Move appears an attempt on the part of Russian authorities to appease white-power forces

- Common Dreams staff

Russian police rounded up and detained over 1,600 alleged undocumented migrants in Moscow on Monday, a day after white-power, nationalist protests swept the southern Biryulyovo residential district of Moscow.Russian police officers detain alleged illegal migrants during a raid at a vegetable warehouse in the Biryulyovo-Zapadnoye district of Moscow, Oct 14, 2013. (Photo: Maxim Shipenkov / EPA)

At least 1,200 alleged migrants were swept up in what Russian officials term a 'pre-emptive raid' on a vegetable warehouse. Other arrests took place throughout the day.

The mass arrests appear to be an attempt on the part of Russian authorities to appease anti-migrant forces that erupted in a Sunday protest. The Guardian reports:

Riot police battled and arrested hundreds of Russian nationalists on Sunday night after they overturned cars and raided a warehouse used by migrants in search of the man they blamed for the murder of an ethnic Russian.

The BBC reports that protesters chanted "White Power" and "Russia for the Russians" during the protest, which was sparked by unverified rumors that ethnic Russian Yegor Shcherbakov, who was killed Thursday, died at the hands of a Muslim migrant from the Russian North Caucasus.

In addition to aggressive arrests, migrants are threatened by a wave of racial and ethnic violence sweeping the Russian capital. Reuters reports:

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.

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