Michael Mainville
AFP
March 9, 2014

Russian flags flooded Lenin Square in the centre of Crimea’s capital Simferopol Sunday as thousands rallied in support of Moscow’s takeover of the peninsula — vastly overwhelming a smaller pro-Ukraine demonstration nearby.

The rival rallies in Simferopol were peaceful, in contrast to the Crimean port city of Sevastopol, where about 100 pro-Russians with clubs and whips attacked some 20 people who were guarding a pro-Ukraine rally.

Some 10,000 people joined the pro-Russia rally in Simferopol, chanting “Russia! Russia!” as a navy band played patriotic Russian songs and dancers twirled on stage.

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