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Last Updated: Monday, 4 September 2006, 12:58 GMT 13:58 UK
Russian town hit by race violence
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A town in northern Russia remains tense following days of mass race riots, reports say.

Extra police have been deployed in Kondopoga after hundreds of ethnic Russians burned cars and businesses owned by traders from the Caucasus.

More than 100 people have been arrested in the town, and three of them charged with murder, prosecutors say.

The violence was sparked by the death of two ethnic Russians last week during a cafe fight with Chechens.

Kondopoga lies about 100km (60 miles) north of Petrozavodsk - the capital of Russia's republic of Karelia.

Reports from the town say members of far-right groups from across the country travelled to the town to join in the violence.

On Monday, Karelia's officials appealed for restraint, saying the situation was calmer now.

"We won't tolerate inflating a criminal offence into an ethnic conflict," Karelia's head Sergei Katanandov said in a statement.

"Bandits have no nationality," he said, pledging to find and punish the perpetrators.

Gangs of skinheads

The authorities in Russia's southern republic of Chechnya have criticised Kondopoga officials for failing to maintain public order, and have sent a fact-finding mission to the town.

"The brawl has evolved into an ethnically motivated conflict with a clearly anti-Chechen and anti-Caucasus bias," Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov said in a statement.

Russia has been plagued by a series of ethnically motivated assaults, some of them fatal, in recent months.

The perpetrators are often gangs of skinheads, their actions inspired by white supremacist websites preaching messages of hatred.

Members of Russia's ethnic minorities from the Caucasus and foreigners say they are nervous about going out into the streets or underground railways.


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