KHARKOV, March 08 /ITAR-TASS/. About 2,000 people marched along the central streets of Kharkov on Saturday, March 8, demanding a referendum on broader powers for the region and resignation of the local authorities.
During the rally in front of the building of the regional administration, some of the demonstrators headed to the City Council building to state their demands there.
All central streets have been cordoned off. The demonstrators are chanting “Russia, help!” Extra police units have been brought into the area. No incidents have been reported so far, there have only been squabbles with passers-by. Police escort the columns but do not interfere.
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.”
In another eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, a rally in front of the building of the regional administration in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk ended peacefully, without attempts by demonstrators to storm the building.
Earlier, about 1,000 supporters of “people’s governor” Pavel Gubarev had come to the square, demanding his release. They carried Russian flags.
The building is heavily guarded, with several hundred policemen posted around it.
A three-thousand strong rally took place in parallel in Donetsk’s Lenin Square. Its participants held symbols of the Ukrainian Communist Party, the Russian Block party and Eastern Front movement. They demanded, among other things, a local referendum on the status of their region.