Moscow riots after 'murder by migrant'

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Steve Rosenberg reports

Police in Russia have arrested at least 400 people after a protest against a murder blamed on a migrant from the North Caucasus turned violent.

The protest in southern Moscow was against the killing of a young ethnic Russian stabbed to death on Thursday.

Protesters stormed a shopping centre, smashing windows, and then overran a wholesale vegetable market searching for migrant workers.

There were chants of "Russia for the Russians" and "White Power".

Moscow police chief Anatoliy Yakunin blamed the rioting, in the Biryulyovo district, on "extremists", many of whom he said were drunk.

Image source, Reuters
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Russian protesters handed round security footage showing the alleged killer
Image source, AFP
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Protesters targeted migrants, chanting "Russia for the Russians"
Image source, Reuters
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Special anti-riot police arrested at least 400 protesters
Image source, Reuters
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The protesters attacked a vegetable market where migrants work, leaving produce smashed in their wake

Ethnic Russian Yegor Shcherbakov, 25, was killed on Thursday in front of his girlfriend.

Police have released a security camera photo of the suspect, but have not identified him.

Media said the image suggested the man was of "non-Slavic appearance", leading nationalists to conclude the killer was a Muslim migrant from the Russian North Caucasus.

The issue of immigration and internal migration was one of the main concerns of Muscovites in the recent election of Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.

Mr Sobyanin ordered Mr Shcherbakov's murder to be thoroughly investigated, but also condemned the rioting and called for those responsible to be held accountable.

The scenes were reminiscent of similar violence in December 2010, when football fans and ultra-nationalists went on the rampage near the Kremlin after the killing of a football fan in a brawl with migrants.