A protest of several political forces and public organizations against the first reading of decentralization amendments to the Ukrainian constitution began near the Verkhovna Rada in Kiev on Aug.31 morning.
About 1,500 activists, mostly Svoboda followers, have gathered on Constitution Square in front of the parliament, an Interfax correspondent reports.
Activists of the Oleh Lyashko Radical Party and UKROP have joined the protest as well.
The activists are holding party banners and state flags of Ukraine.
Parliament deputies and activists are addressing the audience from a stage.
A cordon of police officers carrying protective equipment separates the demonstrators from the Verkhovna Rada building.
The protesters sang the national anthem of Ukraine in the beginning of their demonstration. Radical Party deputies and rank-and-file protesters were standing on different sides of the police cordon.
On Aug.31, the Verkhovna Rada is set to give preliminary approval to the presidential bill amending the Ukrainian constitution in the part of power decentralization. The opponents see bill provisions related to peculiarities of local self-government in individual districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions as 'a special status' of Donbas and legalization of separatism.
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