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5,000 nationalists protest corruption in Ukraine

Published
Far-right demonstrators attend rally against corruption in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, March 23, 2019. The placard reads

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — About 5,000 nationalist demonstrators have held a protest in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev calling for arrests in a defense industry corruption case.

The Saturday protest was the latest in several weeks of demonstrations by supporters of the far-right focusing on corruption.

A journalistic investigation in February reported that figures close to President Petro Poroshenko and a factory controlled by him were involved in an embezzlement scheme. It has become a top issue in the heated campaign ahead of Ukraine's March 31 presidential election.

Poroshenko is trying to get re-elected, but a deep recession, endemic corruption and a war with Russia-backed separatists that has killed some 13,000 people since 2014 are weighing heavily on his ambitions.

Far-right demonstrators gesture during a rally against corruption in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Holding Ukrainian state flags, members of far-right groups hold a mass demonstration against government corruption on the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Holding Ukrainian state flags, members of far-right groups hold a mass demonstration against government corruption on the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, March 23, 2019.(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Far-right demonstrators gesture during a rally against corruption in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Far-right demonstrators gesture during a rally against corruption in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Far-right demonstrators gesture during a rally against corruption in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Holding Ukrainian state flags, members of far-right groups hold a mass demonstration against government corruption on the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Holding Ukrainian state flags, members of far-right groups hold a mass demonstration against government corruption on the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Far-right demonstrators gesture during a rally against corruption in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Far-right demonstrators gesture during a rally against corruption in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Far-right demonstrators attend rally against corruption in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, March 23, 2019. The placard reads
Far-right demonstrators attend rally against corruption in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, March 23, 2019. The placard reads "While we fought, the Svinarchuk and Poroshenko robbed". (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Holding Ukrainian state flags, members of far-right groups hold a mass demonstration against government corruption on the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, March 23, 2019.(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Holding Ukrainian state flags, members of far-right groups hold a mass demonstration against government corruption on the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, March 23, 2019.(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)