Russia: Spartak Moscow fans clash with police

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A number of people have been injured in central Moscow as some of the hundreds of football fans protesting over the killing of a fellow supporter clashed with security forces.

The Spartak Moscow fans gathered near the Kremlin following the shooting dead of Yegor Sviridov earlier this week.

Riot police were sent to Manezh Square to deal with the unauthorised demonstration.

Reports said the city's police chief also held talks with the protesters.

Police chief Vladimir Kolokoltsev promised to complete an investigation into the shooting and urged the demonstrators to be patient, the RIA-Novosti news agency reported.

He also said the police tried to minimize the use of force during Saturday's rally. Police used baton charges to break up the protesters, who included Russian nationalists. There were chants of slogans such as "Russia for Russians".

Reuters news agency quoted a witness as saying the injured included a number of passers-by, who appeared to be members of ethnic minorities from the Caucasus region, who were attacked by demonstrators.

There were also clashes between police and football fans protesting in St Petersburg against the killing.

Mr Sviridov, 28, was allegedly shot dead with a rubber bullet in a fight with a group of men from the North Caucasus, a mountainous region in southern Russia.

Aslan Cherkessov, 26, from the Kabardino-Balkaria region in the Caucasus, was formally accused by a Moscow district court of murdering Mr Sviridov and placed in custody until 6 February.

On Tuesday night football fans briefly blocked a key city artery in protest at the killing, climbing on cars, lighting flares and chanting nationalistic slogans.

While ethnic minorities complain of continuing discrimination in Russia, some ethnic Russians accuse the authorities of trying to play down hate crimes against Russians.

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