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Rioting erupts in Moscow

Police officers try to block protesters during a protest in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013. The fatal stabbing of an ethnic Russian man has ignited anger in Moscow against people from the Caucasus, with demonstrators breaking into a shopping center and storming a vegetable warehouse Sunday evening. Police detained hundreds of people. (AP Photo/Mikhail Listopadov)

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By Reuters
Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, 9:24 p.m.

MOSCOW — Rioters smashed shop windows, stormed a warehouse and clashed with police in a Moscow neighborhood on Sunday in the biggest outbreak of anti-migrant unrest in the Russian capital in three years.

Demonstrators, some chanting racist slogans, vandalized shops and other sites known for employing migrant workers in the southern Biryulyovo area after the killing of a young ethnic Russian widely blamed on a man from the Caucasus.

Several hundred residents had protested peacefully, demanding justice over the killing, until a group of young men began smashing windows in a shopping center and briefly set it on fire. A video posted on YouTube showed them chanting “White Power!” as they forced their way in.

When police in riot gear tried to make arrests, protesters threw glass bottles at them, and police fought back with batons.

Some in the crowd, which grew to several thousand, set off from the shopping center and stormed a vegetable warehouse employing migrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Moscow police said several officers were wounded in the riots, about 380 people were detained, and a criminal case was opened.

Extra police were sent in, but clashes and arrests continued into the night.

Many Muscovites chafe at an influx of migrant laborers to the capital during the past decade.

The Kremlin has watched with alarm at frequent outbreaks of violence in Russian cities between members of the Slavic majority and people with roots in the mostly Muslim North Caucasus, ex-Soviet South Caucasus states and Central Asia.

Some Biryulyovo residents criticized the police for the latest arrests, drawing a contrast with what they said was too much leniency in the treatment of migrants engaged in illegal activity.

“It's simply impossible to live here. There are fights all the time,” said local resident Alexander, 23.

The latest protest in Biryulyovo began with demands for more police action over the killing of Yegor Shcherbakov, 25, who authorities said was fatally stabbed while walking home with his girlfriend on Thursday night.

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