One month on, Manezhnaya mob plots a return

The people behind the Manezhnaya Ploshchad riots which shocked Russia on Dec. 11 are planning a return tonight.

An online community has pledged to go back to the central Moscow square on the 11th of each month to mark the nationalist protest which attracted more than 5,000 people.

Organisers claim the event is a “popular assembly” on their LiveJournal page, and have encouraged members to gather at Okhotny Ryad metro station at 6:50 pm before marching to the square.

But they insist their motives are not sinister, saying they will “go for a walk, sing Russian songs and chant slogans”.

Calls for action

The original protests, provoked by the death of Spartak football fan Yegor Sviridov in a brawl with people from the North Caucasus, were dominated by chants of “Russia for Russians” and “Moscow for Muscovites”.

And the follow-up on Tuesday is expected to call for tougher laws against immigrants and the prosecution of Moscow police spokesman Viktor Biryukov, who protestors claim provided “protection for provocateurs”.

Turbulent month

The Dec. 11 protest was the biggest of several flashpoints following Sviridov’s death.

On Dec. 7 a vigil of football fans turned aggressive with nationalist groups including the banned Slavyansky Soyuz movement briefly blocking part of Leningradsky Prospekt.

Then on Dec. 13 the Okhotny Ryad shopping centre was closed amid fears of a confrontation between nationalists and migrant workers.

And on Dec. 15 a tense stand-off gripped the city as a heavy police presence attempted to prevent further violence at Kievsky rail station. Smaller nationalist protests against the media at Ostankino TV centre followed, prompting an anti-fascist demonstration on Dec. 26 on Pushkinskaya Ploshchad.

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