Crimean Tatars forced to hold commemoration under only Crimean Tatar flag
As the seventieth anniversary of the Deportation of the Crimean Tatar People approaches, the Mejlis has agreed that the traditional commemorative gathering in Simferopol will be held without either Ukrainian or Russian flags.
This will be the first time that the Crimean Tatars gather without Ukrainian flags and the decision is clearly not an easy one.
The Deputy Head of the Mejlis, Nariman Jelyal explains that they pointed out to the occupation authorities that a ban on the gathering was crazy. People would come anyway and a ban would simply heighten tension.
He adds that the gathering will be held according to the Mejlis’ plan, however they are making concessions. The main one is that the gathering will be held only under Crimean Tatar flags and the Crimean Tatar anthem. There will be neither Ukrainian, nor Russian flags.
The Mejlis has demanded that members of the so-called Crimean self-defence are banned from the centre of Simferopol to prevent provocation and conflict.
Mustafa Jemiliev, the veteran leader of the Crimean Tatars whom Russia has banned from entering his homeland, explained earlier that the new authorities under Russian occupation were insisting on taking part in the commemoration with their flags. He said that this was unacceptable to them since they did not support the occupation and could not allow Russian flags to be flown at the remembrance gatherings. These he said had always been under Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian flags, however the latter were like a red rag to a bull with the ‘authorities’ He adds that he cannot preclude clashes on May 18.