Protesters seize Donetsk state broadcasting company

28 April 2014 08:55

Pro-Russian separatists seized control of the TV station in the eastern city of Donetsk on Sunday, and immediately set about switching off Ukrainian TV and replacing it with Russian channels, Guardian reports.

A crowd of about 300 left a rally in Donetsk's Lenin Square and marched through the city centre, pulling down Ukrainian flags.

With police looking on but not intervening, the activists surged into the regional television centre. Masked youths, armed with baseball bats, ran up the flag of the "Donetsk People's Republic" from the roof of the Stalinist neo-classical building.

Its director, Oleg Dzholos, emerged soon afterwards to say that the separatists had brought with them a technician who was turning off Kiev television and replacing it with Rossiya 24. The Russian state channel calls Ukraine's pro-western leaders "fascists" and frequently runs montages of them with footage of the Nazis.

"We hope to continue broadcasting," Dzholos said. His staff of 250 would be back at work on Monday morning, he said. With men in balaclavas and military fatigues standing on his steps, he admitted: "It's difficult to work in these circumstances. I hope we might be safe here."