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Tear gas in Ukraine’s Donetsk as activists seize Prosecutor’s Office (PHOTOS)

Published time: May 01, 2014 12:36
Edited time: May 01, 2014 19:20

Federalization supporters storm the Donetsk Region's prosecutor's office in Ukraine May 1, 2014 (RIA Novosti / Vitaliy Belousov)

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May Day celebrations in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, have turned violent as pro-autonomy activists seized the local Prosecutor’s Office. Police responded with tear gas and stun grenades but later relinquished their weapons.

The storming of the Donetsk Region Prosecutor’s Office began as several dozen shield-holding protesters pelted rocks and petrol bombs at the building while chanting “Fascists!,” as they tried to break in.

Twenty-six people sustained injuries, including gunshot wounds, as a result of the storm and clashes, RIA Novosti reported, citing Donetsk officials. Two of them have been hospitalized. The Interior Ministry said that one National Guard soldier was wounded.

The activists demanded that law enforcers come out of the building and surrender, while about 200 police remained inside. Initially, the police hit back with tear gas and stun grenades, but later refrained from using force and took cover under shields as protesters continued to throw stones.

Some security forces are laying down their shields, letting activists take them,” RT’s correspondent in Ukraine, Paula Slier reported on Twitter.

Federalization supporters storm the Donetsk Region's prosecutor's office in Ukraine (RIA Novosti / Vitaliy Belousov)

Eventually, the activists entered the building as the police left, removed the Ukrainian national flag, burned it and replaced it with the flag of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk.

The protesters formed a so-called “shame corridor” to let law enforcers out of the building, according to Interfax-Ukraine.

After the police were defeated, the crowd cheered the victors with a “well done!” chant and held a demonstration in front of the building.

May Day celebrations in Donetsk, one of the largest cities in crisis-torn Ukraine, began peacefully, with up to 300 communists marching through the city on Thursday morning. Waving hammer and sickle flags, they chanted: “Fascism will not pass,” and sang Soviet songs.

Later in the day, the communist march was followed by several thousands of anti-government protesters taking to the streets to demand a referendum on more autonomy from Kiev and a release of anti-government protesters.

Federalization supporters storm the Donetsk Region's prosecutor's office in Ukraine (RIA Novosti / Vitaliy Belousov)

Activists staged a rally in the city center calling for a boycott on the upcoming presidential elections. They also demanded freedom for the “people’s governor” of Donetsk”, Pavel Gubarev, who has been under arrest in Kiev since early March.

Thousands demonstrate for autonomy in eastern Ukraine on May Day

May Day, also known as International Worker's Day, was marked by demonstrations in cities across southeastern Ukraine on Thursday.

In Odessa, a port city on the Black Sea, about 2,000 activists – including supporters of the federalization of Ukraine and leftists – held a march to mark the holiday, which used to be one of the most important days during the Soviet era.

Activists from the People’s Alternative movement set up a tent camp in the city center to collect signatures in support of a referendum that would give regions more autonomy and grant the Russian language status of the second official language in Ukraine, Itar-Tass reported.

Communist supporters take part in a May Day rally in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov, May 1, 2014 (Reuters / Konstantin Chernichkin)

Protesters vowed to stay at the site until authorities fulfilled their demands regarding a popular vote and released all protesters arrested by Ukrainian security services.

We want to build a bright future and take all the best we had in the past. The people who come to our rallies have an ideology unlike those who have likened ideas to the contents of their refrigerators,” Oleg Muzyka, one of the leaders of the Rodina (Fatherland) party, said.

Local media reported that several radical protesters called on demonstrators to storm the Odessa administration building, but were ousted from the crowd.

In Kharkov – Ukraine’s second largest city – a May Day demonstration was held next to the monument to Lenin, the Bolshevik Revolution leader. Just like in neighboring regions, traditional Soviet slogans were accompanied by anti-government chants as communists were joined by autonomy supporters. Later, a group of activists waving flags of the so-called People’s Republic of Kharkov split from the main event and moved on to the city administration building, which was being heavily guarded by law enforcement. No major incidents were reported.

Ukrainians wave flags of the Russian Block as they march during a rally marking May Day in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on May 1, 2014 (AFP Photo / Alexander Khudoteply)

Comments (201)


Regula 02.05.2014 06:09

Mayday certainly brought out that Ukraine has several very developed and contained parties and it follows that the government should have reflected all these parties, not just the western Ukrainian ones. Since that wasn't done, things went out of control. You can't discriminate against half the population and think that half will follow you - but that is really what the Kiev government wants. Well, it may not get it.

Nor will St. Julia. She is the past - and people don't trust her, for good reasons. Nor do they trust Turchinov or Yatsenyuk. The eastern candidates were beaten. So who is really left to vote for?


Chaz Scholton 02.05.2014 03:01

I'm waiting for US State Department to announce Putin's Green Men took this building a long with others in recent days. What's going on right now... Russia, Kiev nor Washington DC has no control over. Yet, Kerry, Obama and company believe Putin has the magical power to order the withdraw of Citizens from their own country....and they had accused Putin of the one not being in touch with reality? LOL


Alexandr Popov 01.05.2014 23:28

Tany Queen 01.05.2014 23:19

@ Marc Lepine= 11:30 am 20 Feb 2014. WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says the U.S. is outraged by violence in Ukraine and is urging President Viktor Yanukovych to withdraw forces from downtown Kiev immediately. He's calling for dialogue to reduce tensions and address the people's grievances.
The U.S. has already dirted herself in human blood..


What kind of queen are you? A gay queen with the substance of cotton candy, or a queen of substance?

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