ODESSA, Ukraine (AP) — Hundreds of pro-Russian demonstrators have stormed police headquarters in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa and won the release of 67 people detained after deadly clashes last week.
More than 40 people died in the riots in Odessa on Friday. Some died of gunshot wounds but most perished in a fire that tore through a trade union building after government supporters and opponents lobbed Molotov cocktails at one another.
Hundreds gathered outside the scorched trade union building today to honor those who died. Some draped a large Russian tricolor flag on the face of the building.
A group of several hundred people marched to the police station to demand the release of fellow activists jailed over their involvement in the unrest. They attacked security surveillance cameras and smashed windows.
Shortly after some of them managed to break into an inner courtyard, police yielded to the crowd's demands and released the prisoners.
As detainees emerged from the police station, the crowd cheered.
The Interior Ministry says 67 activists were released. It's not clear whether others were still being held.
108-c-16-(Peter Leonard, AP correspondent)-"of the building"-AP correspondent Peter Leonard reports pro-Russian activists have attacked the police headquarters in Odessa, demanding the release of prisoners held during Friday night's violence. (4 May 2014)
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111-r-27-(Sound of protesters storming the police office, smashing windows and forcing doors, in protest against detentions by Ukrainian forces)--Sound of pro-Russian activists attacking the police headquarters in Ukraine's southern city of Odessa, forcing the release of prisoners held during Friday night's violence. (4 May 2014)
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APPHOTO XVG119: Pro-Russian protesters celebrate at a police station building in Odessa, Ukraine, Sunday, May 4, 2014. Several prisoners that were detained during clashes that erupted Friday between pro-Russians and government supporters in the key port on the Black Sea coast were released under the pressure of protesters that broke into a local police station and received a hero's welcome by crowds. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) (4 May 2014)
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APPHOTO XIAS109: A woman lays flowers at a burnt trade union building in Odessa, Ukraine, Sunday, May 4, 2014. More than 40 people died in the riots, which some from gunshot wounds, but most in a horrific fire that tore through the trade union building late Friday. (AP Photo/Sergei Poliakov) (4 May 2014)
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