Pro-Russia activists proclaim separatist republic in east Ukraine city

DONETSK, Ukraine, April 7 Mon Apr 7, 2014 7:10am EDT

DONETSK, Ukraine, April 7 (Reuters) - Pro-Russia activists occupying regional offices in Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, on Monday proclaimed the creation of a separatist Donetsk republic, a Reuters witness said.

One of the leaders of about 100 activists who moved into the building on Sunday night called for a referendum to be held no later than May 11 on the establishment of the "Donetsk people's republic".

Reading from a text, an unidentified, bearded man said protesters would call on Russia to send in a "peacekeeping contingent" in the event of aggressive action by what he described as the "illegitimate" authorities in Kiev. (Reporting by Lina Kushch in Donetsk and Pavel Polityuk in Kiev, Writing By Richard Balmforth, Editing by Timothy Heritage)