World Bulletin / News Desk
The Russian authorities in Crimea have banned all public gatherings in the breakaway peninsula until June 6.
Citing tensions in south-eastern Ukraine as a reason for the ban, Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov issued a statement saying that he would not allow provocations to spill over into Crimea and sabotage its tourism season.
Consequently, the annual May 18 events, in which the 300,000 native Crimean Tatars commemorate the anniversay of their mass deportation from their homeland in 1944.
Board of Ministers press secretary Yekaterina Polonchuk confirmed to the Crimea News Agency that since the May 18 gathering is considered to be a form of protest, that too would be banned from taking place.
As they do every year, the Turkic-speaking Muslim Crimean Tatars, who make up approximately 13% of Crimea's ethnic Russian-dominated population, were planning to mark the 70th anniversary since their exile.
On May 18, 1944, former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin accused the Crimean Tatars of siding with Germany in World War II and thus ordered them to be deported.
While most of them fled to Uzbekistan and the Caucasus, many also fled across the Black Sea to Turkey.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, some Crimean Tatars began to return home in the early 1990s.Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Mayıs 2014, 15:00