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Hundreds Rally In Moscow Against Ethnic Violence

Russians try to draw public attention to a recent rise in ethnic tensions at a rally in central Moscow, 26 Dec 2010

Hundreds of people braved bitter winter conditions on Sunday to rally in Moscow against ethnic tensions that have erupted into violent riots in recent weeks.

The "Moscow for Everyone" rally was in response to clashes between Russian nationalists and migrants from the Caucasus region in early December.

Opposition leader Vladimir Ryzhkov told those gathered in downtown Moscow that every town across Russia is multi-ethnic, and that nationalism would ruin the country.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has spoken out against the ethnic violence.

Ethnic Russians make up the majority of the country's population, while roughly 20 percent come from different ethnic groups.

There has been growing resentment between Russians and those from the Caucasus, worsened by the ongoing conflict with Chechen rebels and militants in Dagestan.

At least seven suspected militants were killed Sunday in a shoot-out with police in Dagestan, a region that sees deadly clashes almost daily between security forces and Islamic insurgents.