Crimean Tatar protesters clash with pro-Russian demonstrators in Simferopol

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An estimated 2,000 ethnic Tatars gathered outside the Crimean Parliament in Simferopol to show their support for Kyiv and a united Ukraine.

There were scuffles with pro-Russian separatists who denounced what they called “the bandits” who had seized power in the Ukrainian capital.

The health ministry said the body of an elderly man was discovered during the rallies. It said he had probably died of a heart attack. It’s reported seven people received minor injuries.

The protests were held ahead of a planned parliamentary session. It was expected the issue of Crimea’s status would be debated but the speaker Volodymyr Konstantinov said the subject would not be discussed.

Tatars were purged from the Crimean region by Stalin in 1944 during Soviet rule. An official apology with a call to return to Ukraine was given by Kyiv in 1991. They do not want the country to be divided.

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