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Collection of signatures gets underway in East-Ukrainian region demanding referendum

March 02, 2014, 18:30 UTC+3 DONETSK
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DONETSK, March 02, /ITAR-TASS/. About 2,000 people gathered for a public rally in front of the regional administration building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk Sunday afternoon.

Participants in the action were waving the flags of the Russian Federation, the Soviet Union and several public organizations, including the Russky Bloc party that represents the interests of the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine’s eastern and southern regions.

As speakers took the floor one by one to address the crowd of fellow-fighters for the rights of Ukraine’s Russians-speaking population, a woman activist came out with a proposal to take the territory of the highly industrialized region under control of the people living there.

“I am Russia and I’ve lived my whole life here and have always spoken Russian,” the activist said. “Some circles are trying to impose alien rules on us today but Donbass (meaning the Donetsk Coal Fields as the region is widely known across the former USSR - Itar-Tass) has always been a Russian region.”

The meeting took a decision to resolve the issue of the region’s future in a local referendum and a sign-in campaign was launched for this purpose.

Some participants recommended that the incumbent regional administration should resign, but the press service of the administration has denied the media reports alleging that Governor Andrei Shishatsky had resigned.

Away from the square where the meeting was held, like in the city the metropolitan area of which has a population of 1,566,000 people continued as usual, with uninterrupted operation of public transports and trade outlets.

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