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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ukraine: Massive opposition rally has been held in Kiev

Massive opposition rally in Kiev
The massive opposition rally named “Raise, Ukraine!” has been held in Ukrainian capital Kiev on Saturday, 18 May 2013.

This rally was planned by the united oppositional forces including Batkivshyna (Homeland) Party, UDAR Party, Svoboda (Freedom) Party and several other oppositional parties, groups and organizations and was aimed to express withdrawal of confidence from Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich and protest against the attempts of the President and his government to monopolize all the power in the country.

The activists and participants of the meeting which was planned to be held on Saturday in Kiev downtown faced a lot of obstacles of their way to the capital, report the journalists. The trains have been cancelled or delayed, the roads leading to Kiev closed by police with the cars carefully checked. Some military vehicles have been reportedly deployed to the capital and the numbers of police forces also increased. The opposition claims that the activists heading to Kiev to participate in the oppositional rallies have been often stopped, arrested and prevented from going to Kiev.

Military vehicles deployed in Kiev
Despite that the opposition rally in Kiev was massive with tens of thousands people participating. The marches started in the morning from the Independent Square, which is the central square of Ukrainian capital. The protesters held Ukrainian flags along with the flags of European Union and also the symbolic of several oppositional parties organizing the rally.

Thousands of protesters headed then to Kiev Sofia Square, where at least 50 thousand people participated in the opposition’s rally “Raise, Ukraine!”, according to the estimations of the organizers.

Among the key demands of the protests was withdrawal of confidence from Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich, calling for the early presidential election in the country, release of political prisoners including ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who still remains in prison. In addition to that the members of the demonstration have been calling for the development of democracy in Ukraine and implementation of the democratic norms as Ukraine is heading to the EU having the perspectives of signing the Association Agreement with EU this autumn.

TSN Ukraine screenshot showing the massive rally
One of the most important developments of Saturday’s rally was issuing of the joint statement of the state’s main oppositional forces including UDAR, Svoboda (Freedom) Party and Batkivshyna (Homeland) Party.

In this statement opposition claims that all the oppositional parties attempt to unite their powers in the fight against the current regime of Victor Yanukovich and his political party and will prepare together for the upcoming presidential elections in 2015.

In addition to that the statement declares that the oppositional front will try to chose the one candidate for presidency and support him in case the election law will be changed and the one tour election will be implemented. In case the election will remain with two tours, the oppositional forces will support the candidate who will make it into the second round, even if the political programs and ideas of some oppositional parties are different from each other.

The leaders of the main opposition parties during the rally
The Saturday protests faced also several clashes between the protesters and police which were throwing the tear gas into the crowds to disperse them. There have been also reports about the clashes erupted between the protesters and some unknown assailants. Journalists working in the area have been also violently attacked.

Though the opposition claims the rally was successful and the next demonstration is planned for 24 August, Independence Day in Ukraine.