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Pro-Russian demonstrators in Ukraine’s Crimea have been holding a rally outside the regional parliament.

They chanted “Russia” and “Berkut”, the name of Ukraine’s notorious special forces recently disbanded by the new government.

The parliament building remains occupied by protesters who seized it on Thursday, raising a Russian flag above it.

Some MPs were allowed into parliament and voted to hold a referendum on greater autonomy for Crimea later in the year.

The referendum would ask people if Crimea should be part of Ukraine or have state independence.

One supporter outside parliament told euronews: “I am for the independence. I am for an independent Crimea. I am against fascism. I think it is not right that some groups of people decide instead of us. They seized power. We did not elect neither Yatseniuk nor Turchinov.”

Another said: “I think we should hold it [referendum] now, immediately. Call urgent session, urgent decision here and now. In two months I think it is nonsense. It is complete nonsense.”

Sergio Cantone, euronews correspondent in Ukraine said: “Through this referendum – that would grant more autonomy to the Crimean republic – the situation has turned into a kind of chess game between Moscow and Kyiv. Moscow has just made its move here in Crimea, now the next step from the new Kyiv government is being waited for. ​

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 Nine of 11 anti-protests laws repealed after vote in parliament.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.
26: Interim government moves to disband Ukraine’s riot police force as leaks lift the lid on the high-living of ousted president Yanukovych
27: Reports emerge suggesting Yanukovych is now in Russia as parliament appoints new pro-EU government. It comes amid fears of separatism after pro-Russian gunmen takeover government building in Crimea.

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