6 Oct 2019 22:30

Kyiv protest against bill on Donbas special status held without violations - police

KYIV. Oct 6 (Interfax) - Police have reported no public order violations at a protest rally in Kyiv against the bill on Donbas special status.

Following the rally in Independence Square, opponents of Ukraine's "capitulation" have marched to the Ukrainian presidential executive office and parliament.

"Following the veche [a kind of popular assembly], protesters marched in a column to the Ukrainian Presidential Executive Office and Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada. According to tentative estimates, about 10,000 people attended the rally. These events are over, no order violations were reported," the Kyiv main police department said on Sunday evening.

No demonstrators were detained.

The rally under the slogan "Stop Capitulation!" began at about noon in downtown Kyiv. Participants observed a minute of silence in the memory of casualties sustained during the Donbas armed crisis.

Protesters stood against implementing the Steinmeier formula, granting the special status to Donbas and withdrawing Ukrainian troops from the disengagement line as part of settlement in eastern Ukraine. People, who gathered for a rally in downtown Kyiv, said that these decisions of Ukrainian authorities are a "capitulation" and betrayal of national interests.

The ad hoc Movement of Resistance to Capitulation arranged the rally; a yellow ribbon on the right hand was said to be a sign of the "Resistance to Capitulation". The main slogans at the event were "Protect Ukraine!" and "No to Capitulation!" Activists and invited musical bands performed at the rally.

The rally was declared as a non-political one; demonstrators did not use any party paraphernalia, though members of political forces, specifically the parties National Corps, Svoboda, European Solidarity, and Right Sector (an organization banned in Russia) and several others joined the protest.

"We are calling on all state forces, both in the Verkhovna Rada and outside the parliament, to pool their efforts and avoid a standoff. Now, the only goal of warning the Ukrainian president against a humiliating defeat should unite us," the organizers of the rally said in a statement.

Peace cannot be reached on the basis of "formulas and agreements," which are at odds with the Ukrainian Constitution, the principles of international law and Ukrainian national interests, they said.

"It is unclear for us how peace can be reached with Russia, which does not want this peace. Instead, they are trying to forcibly impose on us conditions which seek the destruction of Ukrainian statehood," according to the document.

Following the rally in downtown Kyiv, protesters have marched in a column to the governmental compound; they came to the Ukrainian presidential executive office and to the parliament, where they announced their demands.

Protest rallies against the bill on Donbas special status were held in other 20 Ukrainian cities along with Kyiv; their organizers reported them on social networks.

The new bill on Donbas special status, which is scheduled to be passed into law in late 2019, will take "red lines" and public opinion in this country into account, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on October 3.

There will be "no capitulation, no surrender of national interests," he said. "There will be no prearrangements or global steps without an agreement reached with the Ukrainian people, only the return of people and our territories, and the return of prisoners and restoring of peace," Zelensky said.