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Thousands of Russian nationalists rally in Moscow

Demonstrators showed their animosity toward migrant workers at a Moscow rally held on Russia’s Unity Day.
Maxim Shemetov/Reuters
Demonstrators showed their animosity toward migrant workers at a Moscow rally held on Russia’s Unity Day.

MOSCOW — Several thousand Russian nationalists rallied Monday in Moscow, protesting against migrants they accuse of pushing up the crime rate and taking their jobs.

The protest took place on Unity Day, a national holiday established in 2005 to replace commemorations of the Bolshevik Revolution. Many demonstrators carried Russian imperial flags. One group displayed a banner reading ‘‘Young People Against Tolerance.’’

Animosity is strong among nationalists against migrants from the former Soviet Central Asian republics and against non-Slavs from the largely Muslim Russian Caucasus region. Central Asian migrants are widely employed in big cities in construction and do other low-paid jobs that Russians are not eager to do.

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The protesters, from tough-looking youths and neo-Nazis to older people, marched in a quiet southeast neighborhood. The crowd has grown more middle-class since 2005, when the first march was held. A string of well-publicized crimes committed by migrants has embittered many Muscovites who see police as unwilling to prosecute the perpetrators.

Associated Press