Amid brewing ethnic conflict, Russian police arrested 800 demonstrators in Moscow on Saturday, many of them young nationalists, to prevent large scale outbreaks of ethnic violence.
According to Reuters, hundreds of russian youths gathered for a sanctioned demonstration uner the Ostankino television tower in northern Moscow, chanting slogans like, "patriotism is not fascism."
According to Moscow police spokesman Viktor Biryukov, most of the demonstrators were in their early teens, and there had been no violence. "The rally was sanctioned, but soon the young people got bored, split into groups and started marching with flaming torches toward the metro," he said. "This was illegal of course, and the police made arrests."
The arrests came a week after about 7,000 soccer fans and nationalists chanted racist slogans while demonstrating near Red Square, and attacked minority passersby, injuring more than 30 people.
According to the Washington Post, the soccer incident was sparked after a young Moscow soccer fan was killed by rubber bullets in a fight with people from the Caucasus region.
Those in the region have traditionally been victims of ethnic discrimination, and after the killing, mobs rioted outside the Kremlin, attacking people from the Caucasus.