Thousands shout racist slogans in 'Russian March'
Thousands of Russian nationalist sympathisers, many shouting racist slogans, on Friday rallied in Moscow against a background of growing inter-communal tensions in the country.
The so-called "Russian March", which coincides with the country's public holiday to mark its day of National Unity, attracted several thousand marchers to the district of Lublino in southeast Moscow, an AFP correspondent reported.
The marchers shouted slogans like "Russia for Russians, Europe for Whites!" and "Glory to the Russian Nation!" and complained too much state funding was going on Russia's predominantly Muslim Northern Caucasus.
"I think that illegal immigrants who hinder us and bring crime and drugs should be deported. The Russians should be the masters on our land," said Mikhail, a builder from the southern city of Sochi, who declined to give his last name.
Organisers had predicted 25,000 people would show up for the march. But a police spokesman told the RIA Novosti news agency that around 7,000 people were taking part so far.
The event, organised by a number of nationalist groups, appeared to have larger ambitions than similar rallies in previous years.
"This year it's true that the Russian March has a new concept. We already know well it is time to stop feeding the Caucasus and how we are humiliated and it is time to take power in our own hands," said Georgy Borovikov of the group Russkiye (Russians).
Racial tensions in Moscow have increased sharply after a native of the Northern Caucasus shot dead a hard core fan of the Spartak Moscow football club last year, prompting an unprecedented riot by nationalists outside the Kremlin walls.
© 2011 AFP