KIEV, May 2. /TASS/. Black balloons were released into the air on Wednesday to pay tribute to those who died in mass riots in the Ukrainian Black Sea port city of Odessa on May 2, 2014.
A mourning rally took place in central Kulikovo Polye square, next the House of Trade Unions where people died in the fire.
People had begun gathering long before the rally. However, the situation was heated, as the protesters, largely activists of right radical organizations, were involved in verbal altercations with opponents, which were curbed by a new police unit, the police of dialogue.
Security has been tightened in Odessa since the morning. About 2,400 police officers and National Guard are patrolling the city. Law enforcers have been inspecting vehicles entering the city, the drivers and passengers. People have to go through metal detectors to get to the rally.
Police are warning of a ban on production, circulation and public use of symbols of Communist and Nazi totalitarian regimes.
Commemoration services are held in churches across the Odessa region.
May 2 Odessa tragedy
The Black Sea port city of Odessa saw riots on May 2, 2014, during which Right Sector militants (the movement recognized as an extremist organization in Russia) and football fans from Kiev set the Trade Unions House on fire. A tent camp where anti-Maidan activists were collecting signatures for a referendum on Ukraine's federalization and for the status of a state language for Russian was flattened. The activists sought shelter in the building. However, the attackers did not let anyone leave the burning Trade Unions House building. Around 48 people were reported dead and nearly 250 injured in the clashes and in the fire in the Trade Unions House.
At least 22 people were announced instigators, whereas arrests were made of exclusively anti-Maidan supporters.