Russian soccer fans stage mass walkouts to protest arrests

MOSCOW (AP) — Soccer fans from almost all of Russia’s top clubs have staged mass walkouts at games to protest a police crackdown.

So-called ultras organized walkouts during at least seven Russian Premier League games this weekend after a wave of arrests targeting Spartak Moscow fans the week before.

Fans walked out leaving behind banners saying “A fan is not a criminal.” Even Spartak’s bitter rivals like CSKA Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg saw large numbers of their hardcore supporters join in.

Russian authorities have sought to limit hardcore fans’ influence in recent years by cracking down on hooliganism ahead of the 2018 World Cup and by arresting non-violent supporters for issues which might previously have
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