About 500 people attend anti-war protest in center of Donetsk
A spontaneous anti-war rally that began at 1100 on Monday morning in front of the government building of the Donetsk People’s Republic is still continuing, according to Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
According to the report, about 500 people came to the city center and were shouting: "Stop the war!", "Give us back our houses, our homes are broken!", "Get out of here!"
The rally started 150 meters from the administration building, but at about 1300 people began to move close to the windows of the building.
Protesters demanded the cessation of hostilities and an end to the artillery attacks that the militants launch from the district of Oktiabrskiy rynok.
According to reports, the protesters accused the militants of carrying out shelling from residential areas to provoke return fire from the Ukrainian military.
Meanwhile, DPR militant organization police are coming up to people and checking their documents, including the documents of journalists. However, the police officers are reported to be looking rather confused.
According to Novaya Gazeta, this is the first large-scale rally with an anti-war agenda to be held in the militant-occupied part of Ukraine’s Donbas.
The participants blocked Donetsk’s main thoroughfare, Artema Street in Donetsk.
At one point, an unidentified man came out to the protesters from the administration building. He proposed that five representatives of the local residents meet with the leader of the DPR, Oleksandr Zakharchenko. The representatives were taken to a car and driven away to an unknown destination.
Later, at about 1330, Zakharchenko arrived to the protesters and tried to calm the crowd down. The leader of the DPR militant organization came to the crowd on crutches, accompanied by gunmen, according to reports and video from the scene.
Zakharchenko said that it would be impossible to stop the war immediately, the crowd reacted by shouting: "The war must be stopped immediately, or you should provide us with housing."
Asked about the regular payment of pensions, Zakharchenko said that the government was working on it.
After some time, Zakharchenko asked people to let him go because of his injuries.
As of 1400, people began to leave the rally. No more than 30 people remain at the scene.