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Odessa to demonstrate for decentralization referendum at weekends – organizers

March 16, 2014, 21:07 UTC+3 ODESSA
Ukraine’s port city of Odessa from now on may see regular weekend rallies in support of the demand for holding referendums in favour of decentralization of power
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Law enforcement officers in Odessa (archive)

Law enforcement officers in Odessa (archive)

© ITAR-TASS/Valery Sharifulin

ODESSA, March 16, 20:46 /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine’s port city of Odessa from now on may see regular weekend rallies in support of the demand for holding referendums in favour of decentralization of power, an official status of the Russian language and on the country’s foreign policy vector, as follows from a resolution adopted at Sunday’s street procession and march that gathered thousands of city residents.

The marchers carried large state flags of Ukraine, Russia and Crimea and chanted “Referendum,” “Crimea first, Odessa next!” “Ukraine and Russia together,” “Stop Nazism”, “Odessa is a Russian City” and “Come on, Odessa, Hey, Hey! Drive Bandera Away!”

“We don’t have the support of legislators or city officials, who just recently were urging us to resist extremists in Kiev, but who now are hiding, waiting to learn who's going to win. You and me have no time to wait. We are moving on towards victory,” said Anton Davidchenko, leader of the People’s Alternative council uniting the region’s non-governmental organizations.

“This time over 20,000 residents of Odessa took to the streets. Tomorrow there will be many more of us. Next week we shall march to the city council to press for decent celebrations on the occasion of April 10, which will mark the 70th anniversary of Odessa’s liberation from Nazi invaders,” Davidchenko told the crowd. He urged the authorities to put an end to the campaign of disinformation launched in the local press and to refrain from putting pressures on the television channels that support the opposition and rebroadcast Russian television programs.

Some of the demonstrators have decided to stay in the square to wait for the first news of the outcome of Crimea’s plebiscite.

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