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Several dozen people form living shield to lock in police in Donetsk

April 12, 2014, 20:13 UTC+3 DONETSK
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DONETSK, April 12, /ITAR-TASS/. Several dozen people formed a living shield in front of the gates to one of the Interior Ministry units in Donetsk on Saturday, April 12, to prevent the troops from going to Sloviansk and Krasnyi Lyman where protesters have seized several administrative buildings.

Demonstrators have seized police stations, Security Service offices or district administration buildings in Sloviansk, Krasnyi Lyman, Krasnoarmeisk, and Druzhkivka, all in the southeast of Ukraine.

In Krasnyi Lyman, unidentified persons seized the district police station, local media reported. “About 20 people entered the station which had been surrounded by Afghan war veterans and Cossacks,” reports said.

Police have refused to obey Kiev’s orders to storm the seized buildings. In Sloviansk, police special task force members sided with the protesters.

Sloviansk Mayor Nelya Shtepa also supported the demonstrators. “They are demanding a referendum. We all agree with that and I cannot argue with them,” local media quoted her as saying.

Shtepa said the whole city “has become a shield to protect them” and stressed that if the Kiev authorities “try to suppress the rebellion, a large number of civilians will get killed”. “This must not be allowed to happen,” she stressed.

She said the administrative buildings had been seized by members of the Donbass people’s militia who are protesting against the new authorities in Kiev.

The protesters are building barricades with car tires, wooden boards and sacks with sand. They said they had been forced to do so by parliament-appointed Interior Minister Arsen Avakov’s threats to use “strong measures” against those who had seized the buildings in Sloviansk.

Local residents are streaming in to support the protesters. They have set up a roadblock on the exit from Sloviansk to prevent militants from the far-right group Right Sector, sent by Kiev to suppress the protests, from infiltrating the city.

Meanwhile, thousands of people rallied in Donetsk to demand a referendum and protest against Kiev’s actions. Groups of activists have headed to Sloviansk to support the demonstrators there.

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