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Protesters in Kiev demand president support blockade of Donbass

February 19, 2017, 17:29 UTC+3 KIEV

The situation is generally calm, however the sounds of exploding firecrackers are heard occasionally

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KIEV, February 19. /TASS/. About 500 people have gathered in front of the building of the Ukrainian president’s administration in central Kiev to demand the president support the blockade of coal supplies from Donbass regions that are not controlled by the Ukrainian government.

The situation is generally calm, however the sounds of exploding firecrackers are heard occasionally.

"About 500 people have marched to the presidential administration building. The protesters demand the authorities take more active action concerning the current blockade in Donbass. Participants call on the president to stop trade in coal," the 112.Ukraina television channel reported from the site.

The protesters are holding yellow-and-blue and red-and-black flags. "Police have been put on the alert. No violations of public order have been reported as of yet. The rally proceeds calmly. Police officers stop and search all those who look suspicious," Oksana Blishchik, a police spokeswoman said.

According to the spokeswoman, police seized a submachine gun from a motor vehicle in the center of the city earlier in the day.

Initially, about a thousand of people gathered in Kiev’s central Independence Square, known as Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or simply Maidan, to honor the memory of those killed here in riots three years ago. Among those who came to the Maidan on Sunday were activists of the so-called volunteer battalions, or paramilitary groups, that organized blockade of coal supllies from Donbass on January 25.

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