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ODESSA, March 23. /ITAR-TASS/. Thousands of people in Odessa, Ukraine’s vital port city, took to the streets on Sunday to protest against the usurpation of state power in the country and the unfolding political repressions.
People were carrying the flags of Ukraine, Russia and Crimea and chanting ‘Ukraine and Russia Are Together’, ‘Odessa is a Russian City’, ‘Odessa Opposes Nazis and Oligarchs’, ‘Odessa Summon Your Courage and Drive Bandera Out’ (Stepan Bandera was the leaders of the Ukrainian pro-Nazi paramilitaries forces during World War II and his personality is extolled by today’s ultra-nationalistic radicals and some members of the Kiev government - Itar-Tass), and ‘Referendum!’.
The demonstrators demanded that the authorities release from jail the leader of the People's Alternative council for public associations coordination, Anton Davidchenko, and stop persecution of other activists accused of spreading separatists.
Lyubov Davidchenko, Anton’s mother who took the floor at the meeting and called on the Ukrainian mothers “to prevent their sons from going to a criminal war that the nationalists and oligarchs are striving to drag the fraternal Slavic peoples into in the interests of their own Western patrons.
“Officials in Kiev are crying out bellicose shibboleths about a war with Russia but in reality they are at war with their own people but the majority of Ukrainians do not support their policies, although those at the helm of power in Kiev prefer to leave such people unnoticed and to respond with repressions only,” said Sergei Bovbolan, a member of the Odessa City Hall.
“Gangsters have come to power in Ukraine and it’s totally senseless to file any complaints with the Office of the Prosecutor General because he is a representative of (the nationalistic ulta-rightwing) Svoboda party,” said Grigory Kvasnyuk, also a member of the City Hall.
He said the incumbent authorities were fully responsible for events in Crimea, as they were doing everything in their power to split Ukraine.
Speakers at the meeting called on the government to bridle the campaign of misinformation unleashed by the Kiev-based media and to stop putting pressure on television channels supporting the opposition and relaying programs from Russia.