Odessa protesters chanted "murderer" and "no to fascism!" as they saw the president approaching the Monument to an Unknown Sailor.
This article originally appeared at TASS Russian News Agency
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko arrived in Odessa in southern Ukraine on Friday for the celebrations of the 71st anniversary of the city’s liberation from German and Romanian occupiers during WWII and was given a cool reception by hundreds of people who gathered near the Monument to an Unknown Sailor at the city’s Alley of Glory.
They chanted "murderer", "no to fascism!" and other anti-government slogans as they saw the president approaching. The demonstrators were holding a replica of the Banner of Victory and red flags in their hands.
Poroshenko, who arrived to lay a wreath at the memorial, was accompanied by city officials while Euromaidan supporters dressed in military uniforms stood nearby. Reinforced police units sealed off the Alley of Glory. The policemen turned away all the people who had come to lay flowers at the monument.
After the president’s motorcade left, Poroshenko supporters tried to snatch the red flags out of the demonstrators’ hands provoking several clashes, which were stopped by the police.
Earlier on Friday, it was reported that Euromaidan supporters had removed all billboards greeting the war veterans on the city’s liberation from the city streets.
Mass protests have been shaking Odessa for the past five days.
On April 8, Ukraine’s security services detained dozens of activists of a newly-formed opposition organization called "The People’s Rada of Bessarabia". Its head, Dmitry Zatuliveter, was taken away to an unknown location. Ukraine’s Security Chief Valentin Nalivaychenko said the detainees were suspected of terrorist activities with an aim to destabilize the situation in the region.
National minorities of the Odessa region united into a new organization called "The People’s Rada of Bessarabia" at the organization’s constituent conference on April 6 with the aim of defending their rights. The conference was attended by delegates from seven regional communities - Bulgarian, Gagauz, Russian, Ukrainian, Gypsy, Moldovan, and Polish. It looks as if a new problem zone has appeared in Ukraine.
The People’s Rada of Bessarabia was organized to seek the status of a national territorial autonomy within Ukraine for the Bessarabia region.
Bessarabia is a historical region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River in the East and the Prut River in the West. It passed successively, from the 15th to 20th century, to Moldova, the Ottoman Empire, Russia, Romania, the Soviet Union, Ukraine, and Moldova.
Moldova, which is historically part of Bessarabia, is alarmed by the recent events in the Odessa region, which borders on Moldova’s unrecognized Dniester Republic.
On April 9, the People’s Rada of Bessarabia sent a letter to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko urging him to stop reprisals against the organization’s activists.