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In Kyiv, Saakashvili Supporters Demand Poroshenko's Resignation


Demonstrators in Kyiv's Independence Square on March 18.

KYIV -- Supporters of opposition politician Mikheil Saakashvili demonstrated in Kyiv on March 18 to demand the resignation of President Petro Poroshenko.

Hundreds of people gathered in the Ukrainian capital in Independence Square -- Maidan Nezalezhnosti -- the epicenter of the Euromaidan protests that drove a Moscow-friendly president from power four years ago.

Activists dismantled parts of an exhibit dedicated to Russia's illegal seizure of Crimea, which protesters claim authorities recently erected in order to block their antigovernment rallies.

Security was tightened, with several buses with police parked nearby.

No incidents between police and protesters were reported, though the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said that two people had been detained in connection with the dismantling of the installation.

"In order not to escalate the situation, the police did not interfere, but recorded the actions of those who did it," the ministry's press service said in a statement posted on Facebook.

Later on March 18, several dozen protesters picketed outside Poroshenko's residence in the village of Kozin, near Kyiv. Activists said that some of the protesters were blocked by law enforcement officers.

The demonstration came weeks after police in Kyiv dismantled a protest camp set up by Saakashvili's backers near the national parliament building.

More than 100 protesters were detained and 20 wounded in that police raid on March 3.

The tent camp was set up last year by supporters of Saakashvili, a former Georgian president who later became governor of Ukraine's Odesa region.

Saakashvili later resigned from the Odesa governor's post and went into opposition against Poroshenko. He was deported from Ukraine to Poland in February.

The camp was an offshoot of a broader opposition movement that holds regular peaceful protests in Kyiv to demand the resignation of Poroshenko over stalled reforms.

With reporting by UNIAN
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