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Ultra-radicals make disturbance in front of court considering May riots case in Odessa

November 27, 2014, 23:35 UTC+3 ODESSA
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ODESSA, November 27. /TASS/. Supporters of Ukraine’s Right Sector far-right ultranationalist movement and the so-called Maidan Self-Defense made a disturbance in Odessa in front of the Primorsky Court that on Thursday started considering the criminal case on the May massacre that killed dozens, a TASS correspondent reported.

A few dozen masked ultra-radicals attacked people who came out after the court session, beating them and spraying tear gas. Then they tried to break into the courtroom, but police managed to block the doors. The attackers were shouting the nationalist slogan “Glory to Ukraine” and “Glory to the heroes”, threatening relatives of the accused and the injured persons.

During Thursday’s session, judges rejected a request from the defense of the accused and extended the detention period for 10 activists who have been in jail since May. The next court session will be held December 3.

The southern Ukrainian city of Odessa saw riots on May 2, during which soccer fans from other cities, as well as Right Sector militants and so-called “Maidan self-defense” representatives from Kiev organized a march along city streets. Clashes with federalization supporters occurred during the march.

Radicals set ablaze the Trade Unions House, where their opponents hid, and a tent camp where activists were collecting signatures for a referendum on Ukraine’s federalization and for the status of a state language for Russian. The attackers did not let anyone leave the burning Trade Unions House building.

At least 48 people died and 247 were injured in the clashes and the fire in the Trade Unions House. Another 48 people were listed as missing. Some Ukrainian politicians asserted that the death toll reached 116 but that the Kiev authorities concealed the facts.

Investigators have so far failed to name those guilty of the crime.

Ukraine has been in deep crisis since the end of last year, when then-President Viktor Yanukovich suspended the signing of an association agreement with the European Union. The move triggered mass riots that eventually led to a coup in February 2014.

The coup that brought chaos to Ukraine prompted the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol with a special status to refuse to recognize the legitimacy of coup-imposed authorities, hold a referendum and secede from Ukraine to reunify with Russia in mid-March after some 60 years as part of Ukraine.

After that, mass protests erupted in Ukraine’s southeast, where local residents, apparently inspired by Crimea's example, did not recognize the coup-imposed authorities either, formed militias and started fighting for their rights.

Kiev’s military operation designed to regain control over the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk regions in Ukraine’s southeast on the border with Russia, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People's republics, has left thousands of people dead, brought destruction and forced hundreds of thousands to flee.

Businessman and politician Pyotr Poroshenko won the May 25 early presidential election in Ukraine. Poroshenko had funded anti-government protests that led to the February coup.

The parties to the intra-Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire during talks mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk. The ceasefire took effect the same day but has reportedly occasionally been violated.

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