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Crimean Tatars Rally For Return Of Ancestral Land

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine -- Some 2,000 repatriated Crimean Tatars gathered in front of the Crimean Supreme Council in the Ukrainian city of Simferopol to demand the return of land they were forced to leave several decades ago.

Daniyal Ametov, a leader of the protest, told RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service that the demonstration is against Crimean authorities for "their responsibility in creating the land problems for the Crimean Tatars."

The protesters ended the rally after negotiations with local legislators, but promised to gather again on December 15 if their demands are not met.

Crimean Tatars are considered an indigenous nation of the Crimean Peninsula. Tens of thousands were deported by Soviet authorities to Central Asia in the 1940s.

Deportees and their families began returning to Crimea in the 1990s, demanding that their lands and properties be returned to them.