Russian nationalists held after racist street protest in Saint Petersburg

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 October, 2013, 4:58am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 October, 2013, 4:58am


Russian police have detained eight nationalists for assaulting "foreign-looking" people during a march down a central Saint Petersburg street.

Marchers attacked shops and threw stones and smoke bombs, and reports said 16 had been arrested.

One victim suffered an injury to his head, possibly after being beaten with a baseball bat, and was taken away by ambulance.

Police said demonstrators on Sunday roughed up at least two people who "did not look Slav".

The march was joined by about 150 young people and came amid rising xenophobia targeting migrants from former Soviet republics in the southern Caucasus and Central Asia.

Rights activists have warned of a surge in xenophobia, and more and more Russians sympathise with the nationalist cause.

President Vladimir Putin, who has been accused of doing nothing to stop ultranationalism, has not commented on riots that erupted on October 13 over the killing of a 25-year-old man who was stabbed to death in front of his girlfriend. The killer fled but police later arrested a suspect from Azerbaijan.