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Monday, December 16, 2013

Ukraine: Massive anti-government protests are ongoing on the eve of Yanukovich’s visit to Russia

Massive anti-government protests in Kyiv
(Image: Liga NET)
More than 300 thousand people have gathered on Sunday, 15 December, in Kyiv’s Independence Square, called among the people Maidan. Massive anti-government and pro-European protests are ongoing in Kyiv and in other Ukrainian cities as well for the 25th day, and today’s “Day of Dignity” was one of the most important days for the protesters as serious threats of provocations and possible forces scenario are stronger than ever.

At the same time Ukrainian government has organized the so-called “Anti-Maidan”, pro-government rallies also attended by many nearly 20-30 thousand people. Most of them look like being organized as they have been transported to Kyiv in an organized way by buses and trains and their rally happens behind the iron fence and surrounded by the line of police who doesn’t allow anyone else inside. Among those supporting on the rally President Victor Yanukovich are different people, but there are a lot of workers of budget sphere and retired citizens and also many youth, probably students. Some of them said in the interviews they are being paid for participation in this rally, some claimed they’ve received threats at work that they are going to be fired if they will refuse to participate. Pro-government rally has started in Saturday in 200 meters from Euromaidan, but later protesters have moved to the Mariynsky park, close to the building of Parliament, where their rally is ongoing. But the numbers of participants have significantly decreased, according to the journalists’ reports.

Euromaidan is Kyiv meets its 25th night
(Image: Mustafa Nayem)
As for Euromaidan, protesters have issued two resolutions during today’s People’s Council, and these resolutions addressed to President Victor Yanukovich and his government have been announced from the stage by prominent oppositional leaders Arseny Yatsenyuk, Vitaly Klichko, Oleg Tyagnybok and Yury Lutsenko.

First resolution forbids Victor Yanukovich signing any documents and agreements with Russia which could lead Ukraine to joining Custom Union. We would remind that Victor Yanukovich is planning to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on 17 December in order to discuss economical cooperation and strategic partnership and sign several documents with the Russian side. Opposition warns him from doing it and calls on him not to sign anything leading to joining Custom Union, because such a move could provoke bigger protests movements and would escalate the situation even more.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov though has stated on Sunday that there are no plans to sign any documents pr agreements connected to the issue of joining Custom Union with Russia.

Second resolution of Euromaidan demanded immediate release of all unlawfully detained protesters and activists since the clashes between protesters and security forces started. Oppositional leaders though added the term that all the political detainees including those imprisoned in the previous years should be also release, bringing the issue of Yulia Tymoshenko back.

Impressive video of Ukrainian Euromaidan on Saturday:

Meanwhile the demands of protesters remain the same: release of unlawfully detained, punishment of all the persons responsible for violence, creating technical transitional government, signing Association Agreement with EU and reloading the political and ruling system in the country through early presidential and parliamentary elections, law about lustration and bringing back 2004 Constitution.

Yury Lutsenko has announced from the stage that opposition will make everything possible in order to push the government to hear these demands. He also said that new majority in Ukrainian Parliament is expected to be formed in the coming days, and MPs will vote for bringing back 2004 Constitution with the presidential-parliamentarian form of governing, when governments is being appointed and ousted by Parliament and President doesn’t have unlimited powers, as it was granted by the Constitutional reform on 2010 imposed by Victor Yanukovich.

In addition to that Parliament will consider again the issue of non-confidence motion to the current government and will vote for its resignation, stated Arseny Yatsenyuk.

It’s worth mentioning also that EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Füle declared on Sunday that EU suspends negotiations with Ukrainian government over the Association Agreement, as the statements and deeds of government are completely different, and statement of the government have nothing to do with reality.

Massive protests against government and for European
integration in Kyiv
(Image: Liga NET)
EU politicians and diplomats are watching the situation in Ukraine closely calling for the government to listen to the people and to hold talks in order to resolve current crisis. US Senators John McCain and Christopher Murphy have met with Ukrainian President and with oppositional leaders and had talks regarding current situation as well. US Senators have also warned Ukrainian President and his government that personal sanctions against them could be imposed by USA government.

Thus the 25th day of Euromaidan protests came to its end with the tense atmosphere among the protesters as they expect possible provocations and another attempt to disperse protesters using brutal force. Organizers of the protests call for the people to come to the Square to support protesters and not to allow the authorities to use force.

Another massive rally is also planned to be held on 17 December, on the day when Mr. Yanukovich will meet Russian President. Protesters aim to press him with their massive rally and not to allow him to sign any documents with Russia which could change European path of Ukraine.