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It's Ukraine vs. Russia at Rival Protests in Simferapol

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Pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian protesters came face-to-face in the Crimean city of Simferapol on Saturday.

Image: Ukraine Crisis Continues As The Crimea Prepares To Vote In The Referendum
Pro-Ukrainian sympathizers waving Ukrainian flags and chanting "Russian Soldiers Out Of Crimea," "Glory To Ukraine" and "Crimea Ukraine" gather on March 8, in Simferopol, Ukraine.Sean Gallup / Getty Images
Image: Pro-Ukrainian sympathizers hand gifts of cigarettes, chocolate and flowers to a Ukrainian soldier
Pro-Ukrainian sympathizers hand gifts of cigarettes, chocolate and flowers to a Ukrainian soldier standing inside a Ukrainian military base on March 8 in Simferopol, Ukraine.Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Crimea is the only region of Ukraine to feature a Russian-speaking majority. Crimeans will face a stark choice when their region's future is put to a vote on March 16. The referendum will decide whether they should become citizens of Russia or to remain within Ukraine but with enhanced autonomy.

Image: Pro-Russian sympathizers bearing a Russian flag march past pro-Ukrainian sympathizers
Pro-Russian sympathizers bearing a Russian flag march past pro-Ukrainian sympathizers gathered and waving Ukrainian flags on March 8, in Simferopol, Ukraine.Sean Gallup / Getty Images

But while Crimea's population is 60 percent Russian, Saturday's rally showed that not everyone is thrilled by the apparent occupation of the strategic peninsula by pro-Moscow forces.

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