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Riot police units patrol Ukraine’s Odessa streets ahead of tragedy’s anniversary

May 01, 2017, 23:04 UTC+3 KIEV

Earlier a rucksack with explosives had been recovered in Odessa’s Privokzalny Square, near the Trade Unions House

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KIEV, May 1. /TASS/. Riot police from the Ukrainian cities of Kiev and Dnieper (former Dnepropetrovsk) alongside local police officers started patrolling Odessa’s streets on the eve of the third anniversary of the fire in the Trade Unions House, National Police preventive efforts department head Igor Babich said on Monday.

"Six more groups have arrived in Odessa today. They will walk the beat. Also, vehicle patrols have been put on heightened alert," Babich said, quoted by Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s press service.

Tactical groups would join the foot police, who are due to patrol the city’s Primorsky district.

"Their duty is security in the area, prevention of provocations and work with citizens," he said.

Earlier in the day, a rucksack with explosives had been recovered in Odessa’s Privokzalny Square, near the Trade Unions House. The rucksack contained a few grenades, an electric detonator, a fuse, a rechargeable battery and a TNT block.

May 2 Odessa tragedy

The Black Sea port city of Odessa saw riots on May 2, 2014, during which Right Sector militants (the movement recognized as an extremist organization in Russia) and football fans from Kiev set the Trade Unions House on fire. A tent camp where anti-Maidan activists were collecting signatures for a referendum on Ukraine's federalization and for the status of a state language for Russian was flattened. The activists sought shelter in the building. However, the attackers did not let anyone leave the burning Trade Unions House building. Around 48 people were reported dead and nearly 250 injured in the clashes and in the fire in the Trade Unions House.

At least 22 people were announced instigators, whereas arrests were made of exclusively anti-Maidan supporters.

Traditionally, on May 2 annual commemoration events are organized in Odessa. This year they are planned in two venues.

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