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Russian flags flood Crimean capital as thousands back takeover by Russia

Published on Mar 9, 2014 9:52 PM
 
Pro-Russian demonstrators take part in a rally in central Donetsk on March 8, 2014. Russian flags flooded Lenin Square in the centre of Crimea's capital Simferopol on Sunday, March 9, 2014, as thousands rallied in support of Moscow's takeover of the peninsula - vastly overwhelming a smaller pro-Ukraine demonstration nearby. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (AFP) - Russian flags flooded Lenin Square in the centre of Crimea's capital Simferopol on Sunday as thousands rallied in support of Moscow's takeover of the peninsula - vastly overwhelming a smaller pro-Ukraine demonstration nearby.

The rival rallies in Simferopol were peaceful, in contrast to the Crimean port city of Sevastopol, where about 100 pro-Russians with clubs and whips attacked some 20 people who were guarding a pro-Ukraine rally.

Some 10,000 people joined the pro-Russia rally in Simferopol, chanting "Russia! Russia!" as a navy band played patriotic Russian songs and dancers twirled on stage.

"We will overcome all adversity, all obstacles and we will restore historic justice," the newly installed pro-Russian Prime Minister of Crimea, Mr Sergei Aksyonov, told the crowd. "Together with Russia we will build our future!" he cried, prompting shouts of "Hurrah! Hurrah!" from the crowd.

 
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