Nationalist rally marks Ukraine independence anniversary
IVANO-FRANKIVSK - Ivano-Frankivsk hosted a rally to mark the 21st anniversary of Ukraine's independence.
Before that, more than 2,000 people wearing traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirts marched under the slogan "Our language is our independence" from the monument to writer Ivan Franko to the square where the rally was held.
The procession was led by the municipal brass band and about 50 veterans of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists-Ukrainian Insurgent Army (OUN-UPA), a 1940s nationalist movement.
In 1943-1944, UPA, the combat arm of OUN, fought Soviet partisans and Polish guerrillas, staged ethnic cleansing and received weapons from Nazi occupying forces.
A national flag of 20 to 6 meters was brought to the rally. The Student Freedom nongovernmental organization had had the flag blessed on Mount Pip Ivan in the Carpathians on Thursday.
Volodymyr Viytyshyn, metropolitan of Ivano-Frankivsk of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, and Ioasaf, metropolitan of Ivano-Frankivsk and Galicia of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, led a brief worship service for Ukraine.
The chairman of the Ivano-Frankivsk regional council, Oleksandr Sych, told the rally that the council had decided to demand that the officials running Ukraine's television and radio ensure that at least 97.5% of all broadcasts in the region should be in Ukrainian - he explained that that latest census showed that such was the proportion of ethnic Ukrainians among the local population.
Svoboda, Batkivschyna, UDAR, the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, and Our Ukraine were also represented at the event.
Ivano-Frankivsk Regional Council has ruled that the recent law allowing limited official use of the Russian language must not be in force in Ivano-Frankivsk region and that Ukrainian must be the region's only official language.
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