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Friday, November 22, 2013

Ukrainians are protesting nationwide against the decision of government to suspend process of EU integration

On the 9th anniversary of 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine thousands of Ukrainians across the country have gathered in order to protests against the Thursday’s decision of the state’s government to suspend all the activities in the process of EU integration of Ukraine.
On Thursday 21 November, a few days ahead of the Summit of Eastern European Partnership to be held in Vilnius, where Ukraine was expected to sign Association Agreement with the countries of EU, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has declared the official statement of Ukrainian government to suspend the process of preparation to the signing of the Agreement of free trade and political cooperation between Ukraine and EU.

This decision provoked deep criticism among Ukrainian oppositional politicians and EU parliamentarians. Aleksander Kwaśniewski and Pat Cox, the heads of the EU monitoring mission to Ukraine, have stated on Thursday that their mission is officially ended and that the Agreement won’t be signed. “It’s the decision of Ukrainian government, not EU”, said Mr. Kwaśniewski, adding that EU politicians are strongly disappointed with this turn in Ukrainian politics.

This decision was taken by Ukrainian government after several visits of Ukrainian leaders to Russia and under strong pressure of Ukrainian Northern neighbor on Ukrainian government.
Ukrainians protesting in Kyiv
(Image: TSN)
Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers has proposed to form a special commission and to start trilateral negotiations between Ukraine, EU and Russia in order to resolve this crisis. EU though has denied this proposition.

On Thursday’s night 21 November the Facebook campaign started by the prominent Ukrainian journalist Mustafa Nayem and Ukrainian activists has gathered nearly three and half thousand protesters in Kyiv on the iconic Independence Square. Demonstrators have been protesting against this decision of Ukrainian government claiming this government doesn’t represent them and their political will and aspirations. The demonstration lasted all night long despite the rain and cold weather with more and more protesters arriving from Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities as well.

It’s worth mentioning that Ukrainian joint opposition has called on all the active Ukrainian citizens and supporters of EU integration to gather on Sunday, 24 November, to protests and to express the will of Ukrainian people. The people’s campaign has started a few days ahead of the marches planned by the oppositional forces.

Kyiv, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lutsk and many other Ukrainian cities have joined the protests organizing their own “Euro-Maidan” in their cities referring to Kyiv Independence Square being called Maidan among Ukrainians. Protests in support of EU integration have started even in Lugansk and Donetsk, Easter Ukrainian cities which are traditionally pro-Yanukovich and pro-Russian.

Lviv, Western Ukrainian city, has witnessed nearly two thousand of people demonstration in support of European integration and against the criminal acts of Ukrainian government. The numbers of protesters are also increasing in other Ukrainian cities as well.

Ukrainians starting to gather for protests in Lviv
(Image: Radio Svoboda)
Kyiv activists have stated the tents will be set on the Square and the sit-in was declared. The marches of Ukrainians started on 21 November has also marked the 9th anniversary of Ukrainian Orange Revolution held in 2004 when tens of thousands of Ukrainians have been protesting during several months against the electoral fraud which has brought Victor Yanukovich, Ukrainian current President, to power. The moods and aspirations of that Revolution are remembered by today’s protesters too.

Meanwhile the Friday morning session of Ukrainian Parliament which still could possible bring some positive changes was closed without any result and without voting for the draft laws enabling medical treatment of the prisoners abroad, the decision which could help to solve issue of Yulia Tymoshenko.

The protests are ongoing with people ready to stand until their message will be heard. Protests are peaceful, with no violations and breaking the law reported by the Ministry of Interior.

Security Forces in their turn have blocked the roads leading to the Administration of Ukrainian President.