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29 Aug, 2010 21:54

Police detain suspected organizers of mass brawl

Police in Central Russia have detained nine people suspected of participating in an attack on a rock festival. They say the brawl might have started after a local cafe owner argued with a member of the audience.

According to witness testimony, up to 100 men armed with clubs and sticks stormed the “Tornado” rock festival on Sunday. They began assaulting members of the crowd, as well as police and security, injuring more than 10 people, two of whom remain in the hospital. Some 3,000 people were at the concert in Miass in the Chelyabinsk region when the attack took place.

Local authorities say poor security at the event could have been to blame. Earlier reports suggested the mob were members of a nationalist gang, but these claims have since been disproved.

Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has dispatched a group of officers to undertake a probe into the quality of safety measures enforced by local police during the event.

Deputy Gennady Gudkov from Russia’s State Duma Security Committee has denounced the failure of security forces to effectively curtail the attack, saying the incident should prompt further reforms within the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

What were they waiting for when they stood by observing the mess? Probably waiting for the militia to be renamed police,” Gudkov said, referring to the recent debate on renaming Russia’s law enforcement bodies.