Football fans and troops clash in Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Several football fans were injured in Moscow on Saturday in clashes with Interior Ministry troops that broke out during a rally in memory of a Spartak Moscow supporter killed a week ago.

A number of passers-by, who appeared to be members of ethnic minorities from the Caucasus, were also injured after being attacked by the fans, a Reuters witness said.

Thousands of young men gathered at an unsanctioned rally on Manezh Square near the Kremlin in memory of Yegor Sviridov, 28, shot dead during a fight in northwest Moscow on Sunday night.

Several suspects, believed to be from the Caucasus, have been detained in the murder case.

The protesters chanted nationalist slogans such as “Moscow is a Russian city” while facing troops wearing body armor and carrying batons.

Small-scale political protests are relatively common in Moscow, but a gathering on this scale so close to the seat of Russian power is highly unusual. There was no immediate comment from authorities.

More than 1,000 Spartak Moscow fans gathered earlier on Saturday at the bus stop where Sviridov was killed. They laid scarves with the phrase “Spartak Ultras Moscow” next to candles at a makeshift memorial on a bus stop bench.

Russian media have said Sviridov was a member of the Spartak Ultras, a group linked to fan violence in the past.

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