DONETSK, April 12. /ITAR-TASS/. About 1,000 people gathered in front of the regional Interior Affairs Department in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Saturday, April 12, to demand that police “side with the people”.
Several activists later met with regional police chief Konstantin Pozhidayev. Demonstrators said after the meeting that some of the law enforcers, including special task force members, were “already with the people” and demanded Pozhidayev’s resignation.
Later they took control of the regional police department building. About 50 former members of the disbanded Berkut anti-riot police unit entered the building but said they “will not disperse the protesters”.
Demonstrators in Donetsk, who seized the regional administration building earlier this week, have decided to create their own “people’s army”.
Denis Pushilin, one of the leaders of the Donetsk People’s Republic proclaimed on April 7 that Igor Kakidzyanov would be appointed its commander. He said the army was necessary in order to “protect the people of the Donetsk People’s Republic and territorial integrity of the republic”.
Kakidzyanov said “army men will be registered and provided with necessary supplies”. “We will form a staff and an officer corps of retired and active duty officers,” he said.
Pushilin said demonstrators had put forth several demands at the talks with regional and city leaders. Those included “joint patrolling with police and traffic police” in order to prevent crimes in the city.
Plans have also been announced to create joint squads to guard the regional administration building and set up a working group to prepare a local referendum. It will include demonstrators and members of the Donetsk Regional Council. Also discussed at the talks was “complete amnesty” for the detained demonstrators.
Demonstrators in Donetsk have formed a Donetsk republic people’s council which declared “state autonomy of the Donetsk People’s Republic”.
The republic “will build relations in accordance with international law and on an equal and mutually advantageous basis. The territory within the recognised borders is indivisible and inviolable,” the council said in the declaration.
“The people of the Donetsk people’s republic have an exclusive right of ownership to land, its subsoil resources, airspace, water and other natural resources within the republic’s borders. The republic will independently determine its economic status, carry out a financial, credit and investment policy, form its own state budget, and determine the procedure for establishing currency and other funds. The republic has a right to ban construction and stop the operation of any enterprise or institution or other facilities that endanger environmental security. The declaration will be in force from the day of adoption and will provide the basis for adopting a constitution of the Donetsk People’s Republic,” the document said.
The Donetsk people’s council also decided to hold a referendum on the status of the self-proclaimed republic no later than May 11.
In an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the council said in particular, “All these months Donbass residents have been trying to express their protest. We are appealing to Putin as only Russia can give us protection”.
“In the event of aggressive actions on the part of the Kiev authorities, we will ask the Russian Federation to deploy a temporary peacekeeping contingent in order to ensure the security of people in the Donetsk region,” the council said.
Meanwhile, parliament-appointed acting President Alexander Turchinov dismissed Donetsk region Security Service chief Valery Ivanov after members of the people’s militia had seized several administrative buildings in Donetsk and the region, including police stations and Security Service offices.