Ukrainian Activists Take Control of TV Station in Luhansk

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Federalization supporters in Ukraine’s eastern city of Luhansk have taken control of the regional TV and radio station, local activist leader Vladimir Karasev told RIA Novosti Wednesday.

MOSCOW, April 30 (RIA Novosti) – Federalization supporters in Ukraine’s eastern city of Luhansk have taken control of the regional TV and radio station, local activist leader Vladimir Karasev told RIA Novosti Wednesday.

“The Luhansk regional TV center is under [our] control, both the TV tower and the company,” Karasev told RIA Novosti in a phone conversation, adding that the seizure was peaceful and no one was hurt.

“It’s calm here, protesters and the rest of the population [stand] side by side. There’ve been no clashes,” he said. “Police troops that have been sent in are disarming and leaving the region.”

There was no indication about the content of programs the activists plan to air. Over the weekend, protesters in another restive city of Donetsk stormed the local TV center and set up equipment to resume Russian TV broadcasts, which have been banned by authorities in Kiev.

The move came as several thousand pro-federalization protesters rallied Tuesday outside the national security agency’s building in Luhansk, demanding that Kiev release political prisoners, hold a referendum, lower prices and grant Russian the status of an official language.

On Sunday, activists threatened the self-proclaimed government in Kiev with an “active phase of confrontation” across the Luhansk region unless it met their demands.

On Monday, protesters declared the formation of an independent People’s Republic of Luhansk and announced plans to hold a referendum simultaneously with votes in the cities of Kharkiv and Donetsk on May 11.

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