Ukrainian city court bans pro-Russian protests
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MOSCOW, April 11 (RAPSI) - The Kharkiv District Administrative Court has banned a group of pro-Russian activists from protesting in the city, the 112.UA Ukrainian news agency reports.
Rallies by supporters of federalization under the Russian flag have been especially frequent over the past few days in Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk. The protesters have been demanding a referendum on the region’s status. In Donetsk and Kharkiv, the rally participants proclaimed the cities “people’s republics.” There are some reports that the protesters in Luhansk will follow that lead.
According to the media, the ban is based on “national security and public order interests.”
On February 22, Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada (parliament) impeached Viktor Yanukovych and amended the constitution. Presidential authority was assigned to parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchynov and a presidential election was scheduled for May 25.
Russia has denounced the events in Ukraine as an armed coup. President Vladimir Putin said during a news conference in March that Yanukovych remains Ukraine’s legitimate president.
The attempt of the new Ukrainian officials to change the law that made the Russian language one of the official languages in the eastern regions raised the issue of federalization of Ukraine. Also, on March 2, Kiev replaced the governors in the majority of the regions. Protests have taken place in eastern Ukraine every weekend starting in March. The participants refuse to recognize the new governors as legitimate officials and demand that the country become a federation. In several cases, protesters have been able to take over administrative buildings.