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Ukraine’s Odessa to hold march in support of referendum in Crimea

March 16, 2014, 10:09 UTC+3 ODESSA
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ODESSA, March 16, 9:34 /ITAR-TASS/. Activists of movement “Kulikovo Field” will hold a march in the Ukrainian Black Sea city of Odessa in support of a referendum in Crimea on Sunday. Its organisers, who placed a tent camp in central Odessa, are gathering signatures to hold referenda on power decentralisation in Ukraine and granting the status of state language to the Russian language.

“We have never staged provocations and do not intend to do it now,” a leader of the coordination council of regional public organisations People’s Alternative, Rostislav Barda, told Itar-Tass.

“We intend to seek for a referendum in the country in peaceful ways, when people can choose themselves in which kind of state they want to live - in an unitary or a federal state, whether the Russian language should become the second state language and where Ukraine will go - to the Customs Union (Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan make the Customs Union - Itar-Tass eds) or the European Union,” he noted. Meanwhile, “the fight for this is being waged jointly with likeminded people from Nikolayev, Kherson and other regions in southern and eastern Ukraine,” Barda added. In his words, after change of power in Kiev activists of the movement were being summoned for questioning in regional branch of the Ukrainian Security Service that tries to accuse them of an attempt to destabilise the situation in the country.

Meanwhile, chairman of Odessa regional authorities Vladimir Nemirovsky asked city residents to refuse from participation in Sunday’s massive demonstrations to avert conformation and violence. “I urge you not to participate in massive actions, spend this day at home, near your relatives, loved ones and friends. Then those who seek for standoff, confrontation and provocations, who neglect love to Odessa, will be alone in their desire to instigate fear, hatred and intolerance in our city,” the governor stated.

Supporters of new Ukrainian authorities held a traditional rally at the monument to Duke de Richelieu on Saturday. Organisers asked demonstrators, many of which were in camouflage, helmets and masks and with clubs not to hold any actions on Sunday.

However, reinforced police patrols in armoured vests and helmets have been patrolling city streets already for the second day. “Law enforcement agencies are controlling fully the situation in Odessa,” the regional governor commented on these measures.

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