Hundreds Fight in Deadly 'Turf War' at Russian Cemetery

They were armed with shovels, bats, and more
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2016 10:15 AM CDT
Hundreds Fight in Deadly 'Turf War' at Russian Cemetery
A massive fight at a Russian cemetery Saturday involved hundreds of combatants armed with shovels, baseball bats, and more.   (YouTube)

Two people died during a massive fight involving up to 200 people—though initial reports put the number at 400—armed with shovels, steel bars, and baseball bats Saturday at a Russian cemetery, the AP reports. According to RT, the police and national guard were called in to break up the battle at Khovanskoye cemetery in Moscow. The BBC describes the conflict as a "territorial dispute between two different groups of cemetery workers." Combatants were possibly fighting a "turf war" over who gets to provide burial services at the highly profitable 500-acre cemetery, Moscow's largest. But USA Today reports workers may have been fighting a gang that tried to force them to pay up to 90% of their wages as a "tax."

Russian police say the two people killed during Saturday's fracas were run over by a car fleeing the scene. Three people in the car, all reportedly armed with guns, were arrested. In total more than 50 people were arrested in connection with the brawl. Ten people were reported wounded. Some combatants were said to be armed with guns and gunfire was reported, but it appears no one was shot. A police officer was originally reported to have died while breaking up the fight, but that was later retracted. (More brawl stories.)

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