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Building of Donetsk town hall seized by activists of Kharkiv-based organization

About twenty people armed with rifles, automatic rifles and bats occupied all the floors of the building

KIEV, April 16. /ITAR-TASS/. Activists of the public association Oplot (Pillar), which is based in the city of Kharkiv, on Wednesday seized the building of the town hall in Donetsk, the local mass media said.

Reports said about twenty people armed with rifles, automatic rifles and bats occupied all the floors of the building. They were wearing armbands with the word Oplot written on them.

Media said however that the city mayor and workers of the city administration remained in this offices.

Oleksandr Zakharchenko, the chairman of Oplot’s regional department told reporters the objective of the action was to press the self-appointed authorities in Kiev into holding a referendum on the territorial status of the Donetsk region.

“Our goal number is to voice our demands to the authorities in Kiev,” he said. “We’ll stay here until our demands are fulfilled.”

He said the organization activists were going to make the demands public at Wednesday’s session of the town hall.

Soon after getting into the building, the activists were seen hold talks with the police guarding the building in a bid to convince them to leave.

Oplot was set up in 2010 for the purpose of financial, legal, social, and moral support for the families of policemen who died or were wounded in combat or who could not take proper care of themselves because of age or circumstances.

The organization’s founder, a former officer of the Interior Ministry, said another vector of Oplot’s activity was to thwart the efforts to heroize the Ukrainian Insurgent Army,Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists pro-Nazi movement, the raising of finance for excavations of wartime mass graves of Soviet soldiers, and maintenance of the monuments to World War II heroes.