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Moscow unrest - thousands arrested, barely a dozen charged

Moscow Rioters and Riot Police

As the fog of smokebombs disperses, a few concrete details are beginning to emerge about Wednesday night's unrest on Moscow's streets.

And police have confirmed that a number of criminal cases will follow after more than 1,300 people were arrested during a series of stand-offs in city squares and at metro stations.
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But while the cops are preparing charges of hooliganism, attempted murder and use of violence against a government representative, few of the incidents in question relate to the epicentre of last night's events near Kievsky Railway Station.

Seizing an arsenal

Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the national Investigative Committee, told RIA Novosti that police had confiscated 16 traumatic guns and more than 200 knives, hammers and baseball bats.

But the two flashpoints he highlighted happened away from the Kievskaya area, at Park Kultury and Yugo-Zapadnaya stations.

A document check on 12 people at Yugo-Zapadnaya at around 7 pm went wrong when the crowd turned on the three police officers.

"The young people did not obey the legitimate orders of the police and began to attack them," Markin said. "As a result the officers suffered injuries of varying severity.

"As more police arrived at the scene all the attackers were detained. They were natives of the North Caucasian republics."

Kultury confusion

Three people were arrested after a shooting at Park Kultury metro station ­ even though police spokesman Viktor Biryukov said on Wednesday night that reports of a fight there "did not correspond to reality".

The suspects were described as three Dagestani natives who shot at a Muscovite with a traumatic weapon in the metro station, RIA Novosti reported.

Markin said the trio had attacked a 26-year-old local man and fired several shots at him and praised the "skilful actions of the police officers" who arrested all three suspects at the scene.

Nationalist arrests

While Markin's account focused on the cases being brought against 15 Caucasian migrants, there were also a number of arrests among Russian nationalist groups.

And a police source told RIA Novosti that one of the ringleaders of a radical organisation was among those seized outside Kievsky station.

Members of the group were carrying traumatic weapons, knives and even an axe.

No official information was available on his case, or the 40 or so colleagues arrested at the same time.

But the source claimed police were preparing civil and criminal cases against some of the group on charges of inciting a riot.


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