Ukraine: Rival groups protest in divided Crimea

Global News

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine – Police struggled to keep apart rival groups holding competing rallies Wednesday in Ukraine’s largely pro-Russian Crimea region where the regional parliament was to hold a crisis session on the turmoil that has gripped the country.

Over 10,000 Muslim Crimean Tatars rallied in support of Ukraine’s interim leaders, waving Ukrainian flags and chanting “Ukraine is not Russia” and “Allahu Akbar,” while a smaller pro-Russian rally nearby called for stronger ties with Russia and waving Russian flags.

READ MORE: Baird off to Ukraine for first-hand look at crisis

Police and leaders from both sides were struggling to keep the two groups apart, as protesters shouted and punched each other in ongoing scuffles.

The tensions in Crimea – a peninsula jutting into the Black Sea that is strategically critical region because it is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet – highlight the divisions that run through this country of…

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