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    Russians Rally Against Racism and Xenophobia

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    NTDTelevision

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    More than a thousand people rallied in Moscow city center in Russia to protest against recent ethnic clashes and "xenophobia," the fear and hatred of foreigners. The recent violence and racist incidents have raised concerns about Russia's hosting of the 2018 World Cup.

    These Russians wanted to show they will not tolerate racism and xenophobia or "hatred of foreigners."

    Several thousand gathered peacefully at the Moscow Pushkinskaya Square on Sunday.

    This peaceful rally comes after Slavic nationalists beat up ethnic groups from the Caucasus and Central Asia two weeks ago.

    The protesters on Sunday held banners reading "Russia for Everyone" and "Russia without Racism."

    Some people also held pictures of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the jailed Russian tycoon, who lashed out at Vladimir Putin’s iron rule.

    In an article published on Friday, Khodorkovsky blamed the Russian Prime Minister for the 10-fold rise in corruption since Putin came to power in 2000.

    Khodorkovsky also drew links between corruption and this month’s clashes.

    He says these demonstrate that ultra-nationalism is dangerous – and on the rise in Russia.

    Leaders of Russia’s opposition and Green activists were also at the rally.

    On December 6, a man was killed in a fight between a group of ethnic Russians and migrants from the Northern Caucasus.

    His name was Yegor Sviridov - an engineer and fan of the Moscow football club Spartak.

    Suspects were arrested, but one was freed on bail.

    About 7,000 racist football fans and nationalists gathered in memory of Sviridv near Red Square on Dec. 11.

    A number of them attacked passers-by who appeaered to be from non-Slavic minorities.

    More then 30 people were injured in clashes that lasted half-an-hour.

    The violence has raised fear that the government is unable or unwilling to stop the rising tide of xenophobia in Russia.