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Hundreds of Migrants Detained in Siberian Mass Raids, Reports Say

Alexander Avilov / Moskva News Agency

Hundreds of labor migrants have been detained in the Siberian region of Irkutsk, rights activists told the sibreal.org news website on Friday.

Authorities in Irkutsk, some 5,000 kilometers east of Moscow, carry out regular raids against undocumented migrants.

Around 280 migrants were rounded up and “pushed en masse into police vans” by masked men and plainclothes officers in Irkutsk on Thursday, the website reported, citing video footage.

“It’s reminiscent of arbitrary arrests since there were no grounds for detention: they were simply ‘picked by skin color,’” migrant rights activist Natalia Khromenkova was quoted by sibreal.org as saying.

“They were ordered to stand and be quiet,” she said, noting that the migrants had been held in detention for upwards of six hours. “They weren’t fed once.”

The officers eventually released the migrants after checking their paperwork, but did not issue a record of their detention, Khromenkova added.

She said local police did not provide an “adequate answer” when asked why the mass detentions took place.

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