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Mass inter-ethnic fight breaks out in Kirov region

by Evgeniya Chaykovskaya at 25/06/2012 16:50

Kirov region police are investigating a mass fight between residents of the Demyanovo village in the Kirov region and ethnic Dagestani men.

More than 70 people from both sides were involved and police had to fire warning shots to separate the participants apart. Three criminal cases have been opened and two people detained. Riot police have been stationed in the village.

Mass fights

On Saturday, intervention by riot police was required in Demyanovo village in Kirov region after a mass fight broke near a local timber-mill.

The mill is owned by a native of Dagestan, who was being visited by his nephew, Kirovo lawyer Yan Chebotaryov wrote on Facebook. The nephew became involved in a conflict with locals in a café on Friday. The Dagestani businessman was beaten up on the street.

“On June 22, a conflict developed. Twenty-four people (at first police said 40) arrived to support their fellow countryman, including from other regions, all friends and relatives of the mill owner,” the police told Gazeta.ru.

They were met by 50 locals aged 18-35 at the mill. The locals surrounded the building, both sides were armed with sticks and planks, and several small fights broke out.

The fight started at 1 pm, and by 3 pm the building was surrounded by policemen, who were trying to keep the combatants apart.

Shooting at the fight

Locals, however, claim that the guests shot at them from automatic weapons, while the police denied that there were any guns involved.

In one of the videos of the fight gunshots are heard, but it is not clear who fired them.

The police say they shot in the air to “hold off a group attack,” and say one of the locals attacked a policeman and hit his shield with a metal rod.

A local policeman shot in the air three times, while another policeman fired 14 shots in the air. No one was injured because of the shots, the police said.

Both sides went home in the evening, but on later a café where the conflict started was burned down and riot police were brought to the village. At the moment more than 170 policemen are on duty in the village. Shops that sell alcohol are working on restricted hours.

Ethnic conflict

Three criminal cases were opened, on hooliganism, property damage and attacking authorities. The police have identified all the participants. Two locals were arrested, to the ire of other residents, who gathered outside the village administration in protest.

“Why were our guys punished, and those who shot at them not? Two of my nephews were there, they saw the shooting,” said a local woman, Kommersant reported.

The regional governor, Nikita Belykh, plans to visit the village and denied that it was an inter-ethnic conflict. It was a “domestic conflict involving alcohol,” he said.

Dagestani blogger and public figure Mikail Mikailov, however, wrote that the fight started after drunken locals “started insulting the Dagestani man’s religious values,” Kommersant reported. He wrote that they had hunting weapons, but only shot in the air. He said Russians in the village were scared to go outside in the evenings for fear of getting beaten up by the Dagestani men. He called for Dagestan authorities to intervene.

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