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Kiev police tighten security on eve of rally marking Ukrainian Maidan anniversary

November 20, 2014, 10:49 UTC+3 KIEV
On Friday, Ukraine will celebrate Dignity and Freedom Day, in line with a decree signed by President Petro Poroshenko to mark the first anniversary of Maidan protests in the Ukrainian capital
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Police in Kiev

Police in Kiev

© AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov

KIEV, November 20. /TASS/. Police in Kiev have stepped up security measures ahead of Friday’s rally to mark the first anniversary of the Ukrainian Maidan and a planned arrival of volunteer battalions who disapprove of Kiev’s policies, Ukraine’s Vesti newspaper reported.

“Roadblocks will be installed at the entry where people may be asked to open up the boot of the car and show the documents. In the metro, canine teams will be deployed if there are reports of bomb threat. We attract police from other regions and the National Guard members,” the newspaper quoted police spokeswoman Yulia Mustash as saying.

The police plan to introduce special security measures to control situation in downtown Kiev in order to prevent violence.

Rally to mark Dignity and Freedom Day

On Friday, Ukraine will celebrate Dignity and Freedom Day, in line with a decree signed by President Petro Poroshenko to mark the first anniversary of violent protests in the Ukrainian capital which started a year ago and led to the change of power in the country.

The Kiev mayor’s office said the upcoming rally, or the so-called “veche,” is scheduled to take place after the march of volunteer battalions, who are involved in a military action in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian media reports said earlier several thousand fighters from the heavily armed volunteer battalions could come to Kiev for the rally in an effort to “bring order” in the country. Meanwhile, the representatives of the volunteer battalions’ command said no mass actions are planned.

The chief of staff of the Aidar volunteer battalion, Valentin Likholit, said some fighters will attend the rally marking the Maidan anniversary and take part in the march.

In early November, Kiev’s Chief Prosecutor Serhiy Yuldashev said members of volunteer military battalions who come to Kiev from eastern Ukraine, where a security operation has been ongoing since April, pose a serious threat to the capital’s stability and internal security.

He also warned that members of the Aidar volunteer battalion were planning to stage a military coup.

Ukraine’s volunteer battalions are military units under the command of the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense. They were created to fight the militias in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Over 5,600 volunteers joined the defense battalions across Ukraine by August and about 7,000 volunteers joined by the end of September.

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