KHARKOV, March 08, /ITAR-TASS/. More than 5,000 people gathered in front of the building of the Kharkov regional administration in this eastern Ukrainian city on Saturday, March 8, chanting “Help, Russia!” and “Kharkov, rise.”
They demand the resignation of Governor Igor Baluta appointed by the central government, which they say is illegitimate, and a referendum on broader autonomy for the region.
The manifesto adopted by the demonstrator says that the referendum should be held on March 16 and elections of the mayor and local deputies on March 30.
The demonstrators expressed solidarity with other Ukrainian regions - Donbass and Sevastopol, and demanded “an immediate release of the people’s governor in the Donetsk region.”
They also criticised the United States and the European Union, including over their financial aid, which they described as “slavery.”
The demonstrators came close to the police lines and some of them lined up in front of the law enforcers who were blocking access to the building of the regional administration. They urged the policemen to “be with people” and “put down the shields and take off the helmets.”
More Interior Troops have been brought into Kharkov from other regions of the country. Traffic along the central street has been blocked. People keep coming to the city’s central square. No incidents have been reported so far.
In another eastern city of Donetsk, about 1,000 people had come to the building of the regional administration, demanding a release of “people’s governor” Pavel Gubarev, who had been arrested by court.
People are holding Russian flags and chanting “Berkut!” (anti-riot police), “Gubarev!” and “Russia!”
Several hundred policemen are guarding the building of the regional administration. Trucks have been placed in front of the building and barbed wire fences put up.
Demonstrators do not rule out the storming of the building.