700-Person Crowd Erupts into Violence Over Dagestan Land Dispute

A conflict over land turned violent when fights erupted in a crowd of more than 700 residents from two settlements outside Makchakala, Dagestan.

At around 4 p.m. on Wednesday local residents began pelting each other with stones and bottles and injured four police officers, Dagestan's police department said Thursday.

The crowd was gathered to discuss the disputed Cherniye Kamni area that is claimed by residents of both Tarki and Novostroy, two villages outside Makchakala that are home to different ethnic groups.

In an attempt to calm the rowdy crowd, law enforcement officials dispatched over 630 police officers to the site in an operation they called "Vulcan-1," RIA Novosti reported.

One of the four injured police officers received head trauma and was sent to the police medical unit.

To avoid traffic congestion part of the Makhachkala-Astrakhan highway was closed.

By 11 p.m. the police managed to persuade the group to disperse and traffic on the highway was fully restored.

Over 70 police officers were left on site to monitor the situation.

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