Violence continues in the Ukraine today, as some 20,000 ethnic Tatar protesters took to the streets of Sevastopol, attacking a much smaller rally of pro-Russian secessionist Crimeans.
The two sides engaged in fist-fights and threw bottles at one another, with one person reportedly dying of a heart attack during the melee, and 20 others suffering various injuries.
The Tatars are a Turkic ethnicity which were the dominate people in Crimea during the Crimean Khanate, which was annexed into Russia in the late 18th century. Today, ethnic Russians are the majority of the people in the Crimea.
The Tatars are backing the interim government in Kiev, and the leaders of the rally vowed to “eliminate” the growing secessionist sentiment among Crimean Russians.
The strategy of attacking secessionists does not appear to be working, as many of the pro-secession protesters say the violence underscores the need to split from the rest of the Ukraine and secure closer ties to Russia.
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