On March 22, at 12:00, some 300 supporters of the Communist Party of Ukraine held a demonstration on the Svoboda square in Kherson in support of a referendum for the “federalization” of Ukraine. The communists announced their action as a “national referendum.” However, they were greatly outnumbered by some 3000 members of the Kherson Euromaidan and ordinary townspeople who demonstrated for the integrity and indivisibility of Ukraine, reports Espreso.TV, citing the news source “Kherson online.”
To avoid the type of violence provoked by similar pro-Russian demonstrations in Kharkiv and Donetsk, Kherson law enforcement made sure to separate both groups. Police practically surrounded the communists since the pro-Ukraine demonstrators occupied almost the entire Svoboda square as well as a playground across the street. In this fashion, the “federalists” found themselves sandwiched by the pro-Ukraine forces on both sides at once.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, some 500 police officers were on the scene to protect the safety of the protesters. They were immediately able to control small local outbreaks of aggression and provocation. As a result, the communists decided to disperse after an hour, but the pro-Ukraine demonstrators remained. AT 14:00 the Kherson Oblast Council held a meeting and the townspeople decided to wait for the outcome of the meeting.