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KIEV, March 22, /ITAR-TASS/. About 2,000 people rallied in the centre of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Saturday, March 22, demanding a referendum on the future of the region.
Some of the demonstartors were also demanding the return of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich to the country. People were waving Russian flags and many were wearing St. George ribbons.
About two dozen policemen were ensuring law and order during the event.
In a similar rally on March 16, people demanded that the present government resign and that early parliamentary and local elections be announced.
They also insisted on adopting a law on local referendums and holding plebiscite on “all aspects of the state system in Ukraine and accession to various economic unions and political blocs” and called for “returning to the February 21 agreement signed by Yaukovich and the opposition” and making Russian the second official language in Ukraine.
In another eastern Ukrainian city, Kharkov, hundreds of people set up a picket in front of the Regional Council building this week, demanding a referendum on the federalisation of Ukraine.
The call for the referendum was made by a thousand-strong rally in Kharkov last Sunday, March 16, when another Ukrainian region, Crimea, was voting for reunification with Russia.
“Only the people have the power to decide whether Ukraine will be a divided undivided country. Its future should be determined in a referendum,” Yuri Apukhtin of the Civil Platform Association said at the rally. “Our place is not in Europe but in a union with the brotherly peoples of Russia,” he added.
Public organisations in Kharkov, which have refused to recognise the present authorities in Kiev, are planning to hold new rallies this weekend to demand a federalisation referendum.