10,000 march in Ukraine after arrests in Russia clash

30th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

About 10,000 Ukrainian nationalists marched in the western city of Lviv Sunday to demand the release of people arrested after violent clashes with pro-Russian activists this month.

The marchers chanted "Free political prisoners" and "Long live Ukraine, death to enemies" as they paraded through Lviv -- a nationalist stronghold.

"We need a new Bandera to reestablish order," some chanted -- a reference to the controversial nationalist leader Stepan Bandera, accused of collaboration with the Nazis.

Clashes erupted between several dozen nationalists and pro-Russian demonstrators in the city on May 9 as the divided former Soviet republic marked the 66th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Six people, including local parliamentarians, were arrested.

The violence shocked Ukraine and was condemned by Russia, which demanded punishment for those responsible.

It exposes stark divisions in the country: the predominantly pro-Russian east of Ukraine views the Communist Red Army as the saviours of Eastern Europe and celebrates Victory Day along with the rest of Russia.

But western Ukraine has historic ties to Poland and some in the region collaborated with the Nazis against the Soviets.

© 2011 AFP

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