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Crimean Tatars hold Friday prayers, pledge to boycott referendum

Friday, March 14, 2014 - 01:02

March 14 - Crimean Tatars hold Friday prayers, saying they will boycott Sunday's referendum on whether Crimea would join Russia. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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A time for prayer and reflection in Crimea. Minority Tatars gather Friday ahead of Sunday's Russian-backed referendum on whether the region should split from Ukraine and join Russia. One Tatar leader and Crimean member of parliament says they will boycott the vote. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER, ABDURAKHMAN EGIZ, SAYING: "We'll boycott it because we don't recognize this referendum for several reasons. One is that it is against the constitution of Ukraine. Second, this decision was taken under the pressure of gunmen terrorists in the building of parliament." He's also seeking help. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER, ABDURAKHMAN EGIZ, SAYING: "That's why we call international community to stop these developments and to guarantee territorial integrity of Ukraine, because today we feel unsafe when troops are moving around, and the so-called self-defense units - they are doing whatever they want." Tatar's make up about 12 percent of Crimea's population. They were nearly wiped out on Moscow's orders, first by the czars and then by the Soviets.

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Crimean Tatars hold Friday prayers, pledge to boycott referendum

Friday, March 14, 2014 - 01:02