|Pro-Russians storm government building in eastern Ukraine||
Pro-Russian protesters broke through police lines Sunday and stormed inside the main administration building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, an AFP reporter at the scene said.
The activists broke away from a crowd of about 2,000 people rallying on the main city square, threw firecrackers at police surrounding the government seat and eventually raised the Russian flag above the 11-storey building.
On Saturday, thousands marched from Donetsk’s Lenin Square to the city council building. They called on local authorities to respect their right for self-determination by allowing them to hold a referendum like the one held in Crimea last month.
Protesters held Russian flags and signs which read, “The Republic of Donetsk.” They also chanted slogans such as, “Taruta (the new Donbass governor recently appointed by the Ukrainian government) needs to go!”
Some demonstrators also called for trade unions to hold a general strike on April 18 to press the authorities to hold a referendum and introduce a “moratorium on the increase of tariffs and utilities,” read leaflets distributed by protesters, according to local media reports.
Crimea declared independence from Ukraine and formally applied to become part of the Russian Federation following a referendum on March 16, in which nearly 97 percent of voters said yes to joining Russia.
Pro-Russia demonstrations have been a common scene in Donetsk and some other eastern cities over the past weeks.
In Ukraine, anti-government demonstrations erupted in November 2013 after the then Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, refused to sign an association deal with the European Union, which could have paved the way for Kiev to join the bloc.
The refusal triggered months of unrest that led to the ouster of Yanukovych on February 23. He then travelled to Russia.
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