Odessa residents block regional police building, demand punishment for deaths

Photo: Odessa residents block regional police building, demand punishment for deaths / Politics

Some 150 residents in Odessa, a southern Ukrainian city blocked the regional police building to protest against police inaction during the clashes provoked by ultranationalist Right Sector militants and so-called "Maidan self-defense" force, which resulted in the death of 46 people, ITAR-TASS reported.

The protesters were chanting "Nemirovsky the murderer", referring to the Odessa governor, and demanding his resignation, while threatening to storm the building if their demands were not met.

People also kept coming to the city's Trade Union House, which extremists set on fire on Friday, May 2, killing dozens. The people tried to force their way into the building but were pushed back by reinforced police units that were guarding the premises pending the investigation. Enraged protesters pulled down the Ukrainian flag put up on the building by Right Sector militants and burnt it. Police did not interfere.

Local mass media quoted a source in the Interior Ministry as saying that militants from the special task force battalions Vostok (East) and Shturm (Storm) clad in civilian clothes had been involved in the killings and beatings in Odessa. Reports said they were manned with nationalists ready for mass clashes and sponsored by Ukrainian oligarchs Igor Kolomoisky and Pyotro Poroshenko.

Odessa region prosecutor Igor Borshulyak said 46 people had been killed in the clashes and over 200 had requested medical attention, including 20 policemen.

Parliament-appointed acting President Oleksander Turchynov declared two-day national morning for those killed. Odessa itself will mourn three days.

Unrests erupted on Friday, May 2, with a mass fight started by football fans from Kharkiv, Right Sector radicals and members of the so-called "Maidan self-defense" force from Kiev, who had decided to march along the streets of Odessa, thus provoking clashes with the supporters of Ukraine's federalisation.

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