A 100-strong gang of skinheads caused chaos at rock festival in Russia on Saturday.
Punters at the Tornado festival in the Chelyabinsk region of the Urals were left shocked as the gang swept through the crowds and beat people indiscriminately before vanishing into the night.
At least 30 people were injured in the assault, but reports that a 14-year-old girl had been killed were later denied by the authorities.
Local papers in Chelyabinsk region reported that the attack was politically motivated, with organiser Valikhan Turgumbayev apparently using the festival to support his political ambitions and enraging rival candidates.
Other reports suggest that the organisers of the rival Uralsky Rubezh festival sent the heavies to discredit the competition, while regional deputy governor Oleg Grachev told Interfax the whole thing was set up by a local café owner furious at a couple who were drinking booze they had brought with them.
The region’s prosecutor general Alexander Voitovich announced on Monday that the businessman was detained, and denied reports that the attack could be connected to the upcoming election.
“We were sitting not far from the central arena and suddenly saw about 100 people moving towards the audience,” an eye-witness told local press. “They looked like skinheads: bald, without t-shirts, in military boots. They were walking and along the way beating up people who were lying on the grass – beating them on the head, on the back, wherever possible. Everyone who saw them scattered. Then the attackers pushed people towards the fence and the bloodshed started.”
The organisers’ representative Ivan Boyarintsev said that “There were about 70 to 100 attackers, all adults. They were bare-chested and armed with bats; some had pistols with rubber bullets... As far as I know, 10 people were injured, but there were no deaths.”
The organisers’ representative dispelled reports that security staff were overpowered in the attacks, saing that security measures “worked well”.
Police arrested 18 people in relation to the incident.