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Russian police and OMON riot squad officers have launched a major anti-hooligan operation in Moscow and other cities, arresting at least 800 people after an explosion of ethnic violence.

The centre of Moscow around the Kremlin, including Red Square and neighbouring Manezh Square, was sealed off as officers moved in. More arrests were made at the capital’s Kievsky station, and in other towns and cities including St Petersburg.

Police moved in for fear of further clashes between ethnic Russian youths and gangs hailing from the North Caucasus. Violent street battles erupted last weekend, sparked by the death of a Spartak Moscow football fan in fighting between the two groups.

Many of those arrested were said to be carrying weapons including knives, air rifles and stun guns. Police said most of the suspects originally came from the Caucasus.

There’s been long-standing tension between ethnic Russians and Caucasian minorities who move to big cities like Moscow to find work.

Copyright © 2014 euronews

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