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Over 5,000 people gather in Donetsk for rally against presidential elections

May 25, 2014, 15:49 UTC+3

The protesters intent to picket the residence of tycoon Rinat Akhmetov

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© ITAR-TASS/Konstantin Sazonchik

DONETSK, May 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Over 5,000 participants of a rally against Ukraine’s presidential elections in Donetsk headed off to the residence of businessman Rinat Akhmetov intending to picket it. An ITAR-TASS correspondent reports from the spot that the column is moving through one of the central streets of the city.

The march has spread for nearly 3 kilometers. Law enforcement officers are not blocking the rally’s participants.

Meanwhile, unidentified gunmen are standing in front of Akhmetov’s residence, where he also has his office.

No voting in Donetsk, Luhansk and Sloviansk

Voting at the Ukraine presidential elections is not held in the eastern cities of Sloviansk, Donetsk and Luhansk over failure to deliver ballot papers to these areas, Ukraine’s Central Electoral Commission spokesperson Konstantin Khivrenko said on Sunday.

Ukrainians are voting on Sunday at the early presidential elections after President Viktor Yanukovych left the country in late February. The elections are taking place amid Kiev’s continued punitive operation in the east of the country.

“Voting will not take place in Donetsk, Sloviansk and Luhansk. We have not been able to deliver ballot papers to these cities. Unfortunately, this is so. The situation does not allow us to organize the electoral process there,” Khivrenko said.

Ukraine’s Central Electoral Commission head Mikhail Okhendovsky earlier said that voting in Sloviansk, a city in the Donetsk Region that had been the scene of fighting between the Ukrainian National Guard and the region’s self-defense forces, could not be staged.

“Voting in Sloviansk is absolutely impossible. Unfortunately, this is so,” Okhendovsky said.

The head of the Ukrainian Central Electoral Commission also said that polling stations had opened at 7 out of 22 electoral districts in the Donetsk Region

“In the Donetsk Region, 7 out of 22 electoral districts started to work. But not all of polling stations are opened,” he said.

The eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions held referendums on May 11, in which most voters supported independence from Ukraine. This happened due to an unstable political situation in Ukraine after a coup in the country three months ago.

Ukraine has been in turmoil after the coup, which occurred in February. New people were brought to power amid riots as Yanukovych had to leave the country the same month citing security concerns. The new Ukrainian leaders in Kiev set early presidential elections for May 25.

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