Moscow riots broke out after the stabbing death of an ethnically Russian man on Thursday. Word that his assailant was an immigrant from the Caucasus region lead to riots in the Russian capital. Angry mobs took to a shopping center and a warehouse, leading police to arrest more than 200 people.
25-year-old Yegor Sherbakov was murdered in front of his girlfriend Thursday. Police are currently searching for the suspect, who is still at large. Moscow’s mayor says the attacker will be found and brought to justice, according to RBTH. However some see the incident as the latest sign of growing tensions between ethnically Russian citizens and immigrants from the Caucasus region.
As BBC News reports, angry protesters took to the streets chanting slogans like “White Power” and “Russia for the Russians,” underlining the racial basis of the riots. One large mob went to a nearby shopping center where they barricaded stores. A flare was thrown into the mall, filling the first floor with smoke. At least one car was overturned.
As the Moscow riots continued another mob went to a local vegetable warehouse. As RBTH reports, sources say the mob believed the warehouse to be the hiding place of the murderer. Moscow riot police formed a human chain around the area to stop people from entering the area.
Moscow’s chief of police, Anatoliy Yakunin, says the riots are the work of mostly drunken extremists. Estimates put as many as 3,000 people joined involved in the violent protests. Moscow is on high alert and several public areas are closed. Law enforcement officials say support forces are on their way to support the city’s riot police, USA Today reports, after rioters attacked and injured several policemen.
There are also reports of fights breaking out between migrant workers and rioters. Many leaders of local migrant and minority communities have concern that the Moscow riots may lead violent nationalists to their doors.