The flag of the Tatars was the rallying call for an estimated 10,000 protesters outside the Crimean regional parliament in Simferopol. It was a show of unity by a people who see themselves as Russian but citizens of Ukraine.
Their ancestors were purged from the region in 1944 during Soviet rule by Stalin. 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.
“I am an ethnic Russian but I want to live in the territory of Ukraine,” stressed one of the Tatars.
There were reports of some minor clashes with pro-Russian demonstrators calling for the region to return to rule from Moscow. There are reports that some of the protesters raised a Russian flag on the parliament building.
The Crimea was gifted to Ukraine in 1954 by the then General Secretary of the Communist Party Nikita Krushchev.
The Kremlin’s Black Sea fleet is harboured in the city of Sevastopol.
Ukraine crisis – how it unfolded
24: Thousands protest in Kyiv over government move to shelve EU association agreement.
17: Ukraine secures a 11bn euro bailout from Russia.
19: Up to 200,000 gather in Kyiv to show opposition to newly-enacted anti-protest laws. Clashes between police and protesters.
20: Clashes continue into second day.
22: Kyiv Post reports five killed and 300 injured as clashes intensify.
23: Truce announced which paves the way for arrested protestors to be released.
28: Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigns. Nine of 11 anti-protests laws repealed after vote in parliament. Stand-off continues between police and protesters in Kyiv.
18: 20,000 protestors march to parliament with MPs set to debate a possible new constitution. At least 17 people, including seven policeman, are killed as fresh clashes erupt.
19: Truce agreed.
20: Truce breaks down, fresh clashes see 48-hour death toll rise to at least 77.
21: Peace deal signed, with talk of early elections. Violence spreads to western Ukraine.
22: Protesters freely take control of presidential buildings amid reports Yanukovych has fled. Parliament votes to remove him with fresh elections set for May. Yanukovych appears on TV and denounces a “coup dêtat”. Opposition leader Tymoshenko released from jail.
23: Tymoshenko ally becomes acting president, saying European integration is a priority
25: Parliament votes for ousted Yanukovych to be tried at International Criminal Court.