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Anti-Kiev protesters regain control of city council in Mariupol

Anti-Kiev protesters regain control of city council in Mariupol
Despite claims by Kiev that the city of Mariupol in eastern Ukraine is under the control of Interior Troops, the flags of the People Republic of Donetsk and Russia have been again raised by anti-Kiev activists above the local administration building.

Early Wednesday, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said that the city council in Mariupol had been cleared of the supporters of the People’s Republic of Donetsk.

“The city is under full control of the authorities,” the interior minister in Ukraine’s coup-imposed government, Arsen Avakov, announced. “Mariupol is unblocked; the traffic in the streets and access to all administrative buildings have been restored.”

The interior troops used toxic gas as they stormed the administration building in Mariupol, one of the protesters told RIA-Novosti news agency.

As the self-defense forces abandoned the city council fearing for their lives, around 60 armed men began shooting in the air, he said.

The use of poison gas by the radicals is also believed to be the reason for the death of 46 people in the Ukrainian city of Odessa on May 2.

Around 20 activists were detained by the Kiev forces during the raid, with 16 of them currently remaining in custody.

The barricades around the city council were dismantled and the Ukrainian national flag was raised.

However, local media reports that it only remained above the administrative building for three hours before being removed.

“Currently, the flag of the People’s Republic of Donetsk is back on the flagpole, and besides there’s a flag of the Russian Federation above the entrance,”
a Mariupol resident who identified herself only as Yulia told RT.

Several hundred of ant-Kiev protesters have gathered in front of the city council, forcing the interior troops to leave the area around the city council, 0629.com.ua website reports.

But Kiev forces remain nearby as they are surrounded by the locals, who blame the soldiers for acting like “fascists.”

With the interior troops gone, the activists tried to make their way back into the city council, which was still contaminated by toxic gas after the storm.

As a result, two people suffered chemical poisoning and another eight received chemical burns, medics who arrived at the scene told 0629.com.ua website.

Meanwhile, another rally is taking in front of Mariupol’s police headquarters where the activists detained during the raid were taken.

Activists celebrate as Ukrainian policeman leave guarding the state city building in southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol on May 7, 2014. (AFP Photo / Genya Savilov)

The relatives fear that those arrested may be taken away from the city by the National Guard, one of the activists told RIA-Novosti.

“According to our information, a bus carrying the National Guard, who are armed and wearing masks, has arrived at the police department. The people, who gathered there, are asking everybody to come and prevent the guys from being transferred to some other place. Because we now have more and more cases when people are taken away in an unknown direction,”
she said.

The National Guard is a force created by the new Kiev authorities to legalize the far-right radicals involved in the February’s coup.

Many of the Russian speaking population of Ukraine’s south-east refused to recognize the country’s new authority.

A large part of the country is engulfed in turmoil during the last months, with the anti-Kiev activists seizing administrative buildings and demanding referendum on greater autonomy.

Donetsk and Lugansk regions are planning to hold a referendum on its future as part of Ukraine on May, Sunday 11.

The protesters refuse to stand down, despite Kiev launching a large-scale military operation against them, which already has resulted in dozens killed.

An activist climbs up on the flagpole as he holds flag of so-called Donetsk Republic in the teeth after Ukrainian policemen left their guarding outside of state city building in southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol on May 7, 2014. (AFP Photo / Genya Savilov)