Ukraine's 'Euromaidan' Opposition Vows More Pressure, Threatens Strike

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian opposition leaders at a weekly antigovernment rally that attracted tens of thousands of people have called for continued protests and a national strike after the winter holidays.

Ukrainian opposition leader Vitali Klitschko urged protesters to keep up the pressure on the government.

Udar party leader Vitali Klitschko was among those critics of President Viktor Yanukovych and his ruling allies who issued the appeal on December 29 on Independence Square in Kiev, which has been the hub of pro-EU protests for a month.

Klitschko said authorities expected the "Euromaidan" protests that erupted after Yanukovych's government suspended talks on an Association Agreement ahead of a major EU summit in late November.

"They expect us to tire and go home," Klitschko told the crowd, according to RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service.

"But no, we will fight to the bitter end. We will not go away."

The crowd numbered in the tens of thousands but was seemingly down from previous weeks.

The parliamentary opposition signaled its commitment to keeping the political pressure on the ruling parties until Ukraine's next scheduled elections in 2015.

"We are preparing to win the presidential elections," Arseny Yatsenyuk, the leader of the opposition Fatherland (Batkivshchyna) party told the rally.

"We are building a team...that will be able to turn Ukraine into a European country." 

Yatsenyuk also drew a connection between the ongoing protests and a recent brutal attack on a Ukrainian journalist and activist for which five suspects have been arrested.

"We have named our today's rally 'Solidarity Against Terror' -- against the terror that was unleashed by the authorities when they attacked Tetyana Chornovil with these thugs outrageously beating her; against the terror that sees 'Euromaidan' activists prosecuted and intimidated by the current political machinery; against the terror directed against those families that now see their children afraid to go to school," Yatsenyuk, a former close ally of jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, said.

Some Ukrainian motorists meanwhile demonstrated on a road near Yanukovych's Kiev residence, honking car horns and generally slowing traffic before heading toward the home of pro-Russian strategist Viktor Medvedchuk, who heads the Ukraine's Choice civic movement.

There were no reports of arrests or violence.

The protesters are demanding the punishment of those responsible for the forcible dispersement of peaceful protests that attracted hundreds of thousands in the days after the EU snub, the release of people detained in connection with the demonstrations, and the dismissal of the Ukrainian government.

Ukraine, which is predominantly Orthodox, marks Christmas with a public holiday on January 7.

Source: Radio Free Europe


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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