Ukraine Protesters Rally At President's Home

KIEV, Ukraine -- Thousands demand resignation of Viktor Yanukovych, challenged by more than a month of opposition protests.

A Government opponent carries an EU flag as he walks in front of riot police surrounding Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's country home, about 10 miles from Kiev on December 29, 2013.

Thousands of Ukrainians have staged a rally for the first time in front of the private home of President Viktor Yanukovych, as more than a month of protests continue against the government's decision to cancel a deal for greater European Union integration.

About 5,000 protesters rallied outside the president's residence, known as Mezhygirya, on Sunday, carrying a coffin to symbolise what they hope is the end of Yanukovych's political career, and chanting "Kiev rise up!" and "Get Out Yanukovych!".

The residence, located 15km (9 miles) outside of Kiev, was heavily guarded by Ukrainian riot police.

There were no initial reports of clashes.

Ukraine's opposition and media have long accused Yanukovych of financing Mezhygirya with funds obtained improperly by him and his family, a claim the government denies.

Vitali Klitschko, the leader of the opposition UDAR (Punch) party and world boxing champion, denounced the "corruption" of the elite in front of the crowds.

"The authorities should not think that they can hide behind fences and not hear the people. They see how many of us there are and we do not have fear," Klitschko said. 

"The next time there are going to be a million of us," he said.

Low turnout In Kiev, some 20,000 to 50,000 protesters gathered in the city's Independence Square amid growing anger over the brutal beating of a reporter, Tetyana Chornovil, who exposed the lavish lifestyles of Yanukovych and others.

The turnout was lower than at previous anti-government rallies, which drew in hundreds of thousands earlier this month.

Yanukovych has faced more than a month of mass demonstrations across the country since he decided to ditch an EU deal - that would bring Ukraine closer to Europe - in favour of forging closer ties to Russia.

"The question now is what's next? The demonstrations seem to have run their course, and opposition leaders are relying on a new civil society movement to take the momentum started here, and turn it into real change in Ukraine's cities and regions,"

Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glasse reported from Independence Square in Kiev.

"They'd like to force early presidential elections, which aren't scheduled until 2015. They say they have a lot of support and they'll continue pressuring the government in any way they can," our correspondent said.

Other protests also targeted the homes of government officials earlier this week.

On Saturday, about 50 cars drove to the house of the country's Prosecutor-General Viktor Pshonka in what was dubbed a "protest drive", while another rally was held outside the house of Ukraine's Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko.

Source: Al Jazeera


Igor Skakovsky said…
United Ukraine is the only way to be. It is obvious to me that EU and Russia are working on splitting Ukraine in halve or three parts. It is so clear and unmistakable work up to the point of no return. The situation is getting heated up under the silenced OK from the biggest player USA. The Ukraine in hands of Ukrainians, be wise, do not let the big guys to screw up a country of 46 million people. Stay strong and united no meter what provocateurs on both sides will do. This fight is not about West verses East it is about Ukraine surviving as country. EU had all the chances to reassure Ukraine of financial support when Russia's protectionism being exposed but, they didn't; Russia on the other hand had a chance to find a solution to the threat of EU products but, it didn't. US on the other hand could pressure IMF to secure another trench of loans to prevent Ukraine from kneeling to Russia but, they didn't.
People of Ukraine make your own conclusions but, what ever you do, who ever you support, whether you are from the Western Ukraine and believe that it is better to suffer hard ship than leave in country with human rights abuses, or whether you are from the East and believe that it is better to straggle longer under discrimination but know that you have job Tomorrow and things will get better one day, STAY UNITED for the sake of Ukraine. This is first time in the history Ukraine exist in its current borders but, it is not the first time Ukrainian people have to suffer. SLAVA UKRAINY, SLAVA GEROYAM. Ukraine stay united and prevent the bigger suffering that is being carefully prepared for you buy big guys. Some of them have direct interest to see Ukraine to be divided and some have "bigger fish to fry" and would simply do nothing to prevent the division of a country.
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