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Prosecutors claim decision to hold referendum in Donetsk region unlawful

March 22, 2014, 22:28 UTC+3 KIEV
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KIEV, March 22, /ITAR-TASS/. The prosecutor’s office in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Saturday, March 22, demanded that the regional council’s decision to hold a referendum be cancelled as unlawful.

The office filed a petition with the district administrative court asking it to cancel the council’s decision of March 3, 2014, which authorised a referendum in the Donetsk region. Prosecutors said the decision “was adopted in excess of power and contradicts the Constitution of Ukraine and effective legislation”. Under law, the Donetsk regional council may not make decisions on referenda.

The council’s decision has been suspended pending court ruling.

On March 3, the Donetsk Regional Council voted to hold a regional referendum on the free use of the Russian language and other minority languages in the region, and on the inadmissibility of cuts in social allowances and increases in utility rates. The council asked the Ukrainian parliament to adopt a law on local referenda without delay.

About 2,000 people rallied in Donetsk on 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.

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