The worst ethnic rioting in decades in Russia has resulted in 1,600 migrant workers being detained by police in Moscow after bloody clashes and hostility over the presence of migrants enraged residents.
“We are scared to walk the streets at night,” Alexei Zhuravlyov, a Moscow resident, told Reuters.
“They (migrants) are always attacking, stealing from and killing people. They don't even abide by basic rules like stopping at a red light.”
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Many of the migrants have come to the area from North Caucasus, Caucasus, and Central Asia, and Reuters said they tend to take low-paying jobs that few locals desire. Unrest about the numbers of migrants has been dogging Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Agence France-Presse said 394 people were arrested as a result of the riots,
which began over the killing of a 25-year-old Russian man supposedly by an unidentified migrant. After the riots, in an apparent attempt to appease people and lower the tensions, police began detaining illegal migrants.
Of the 394 arrested, apparently only 72 would be tried in court and the rest would be released, AFP said.
Police do not have the Russian man’s murderer in custody, and have only an unclear video to help determine who that man is, AFP said. His appearance, though, indicated that he did not look Slavic, leading people to assume he was a migrant.
Immigration was a hot-button issue in September’s Moscow elections, AFP said. The loser in that race, activist Alexei Navalny, was in favor of being tough on immigration and he wrote about the vegetable market that was at the center of riots and also tends to hire a lot of immigrants.
“You have to understand that the more horror a place densely populated by migrants brings to the lives of locals, the more money it brings to the security services and local authorities,” he wrote on his blog, according to AFP.
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