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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ukraine: Euromaidan voices new demands to the government as massive rallies continue

Sunday's Euromaidan rally in Kyiv
(Image: Euromaidan Facebook Page)
Tens of thousands of Ukrainians have gathered on Sunday, 12 January, in Kyiv Independence Square, known currently as Euromaidan, for the massive anti-government rallies called by the oppositional forces and civic organizations.

Friday’s clashes between the peaceful protesters and security forces in front of the court building in one of Kyiv districts and violent beating of the protesters and journalists by the riot police sparked the new wave of people’s anger willing to change the system in the country.

According to the Interior Ministry’s estimations, there were only nearly 8 thousand of protesters on Sunday, though different independent sources claim Sunday’s protests were attended by at least 50 thousand people. Oppositional estimations state there were more than 100 thousand. Anyway, despite the cold and rainy weather on Sunday the main square of Ukraine was literally packed by the protesters with the massive rallies being held all over Ukraine and also outside of Ukraine, including USA and European countries.

The key demands of Euromaidan remain the same: justice for all the unlawfully detained activists and journalists, responsibility and criminal punishment for all those who stand behind the dispersals of the protests and the following intimidation campaign against Euromaidan activists, release of the political prisoners and detained activists, resignation of Minister of Interior Vitaly Zakharchenko and of the whole Cabinet of Ministers. The long-term demands include reforming of all the kye institutions of the state, lustration, returning of the 2004 Constitution and cancelling of the 2010 Constitutional Decree issued by Victor Yanukovich, early presidential and parliamentarian elections. Protesters and activists of  Euromaidan though are ready for the long term fight for the changes of the country’s political system.

Anti-government protests in Kyiv continue
(Image: Euromaidan Facebook Page)
As for the results of the current, 7th People’s Council and the first one in 2014, participants of the rally, National Alliance Euromaidan and opposition have declared on Sunday their current demands to the government of Ukraine and President Yanukovich. One of the oppositional leaders Arseny Yatsenyuk has announced that Euromaidan gives Yanukovich and his regime 10 days to fulfill the current demands of the protesters: to order the courts to implement recently issued “amnesty law” regarding all the unlawfully detained protesters and activists and to order their release. If this decree won’t be issued and signed by the President, oppositional MPs will come to the Presidential Administration to demand President to sign this decree.

In addition to that oppositional forces stressed they continue to demand release of all the political prisoners including former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. They claim they will block the upcoming Parliament’s session to be held on Monday if these demands won’t be met. In addition to that oppositional MPs will demand to show and explain all the details of the controversial 2014 budget project.

Protesters and activists have also called for US Senate and for EU to impose personal sanctions against Ukrainian high officials responsible for the recent events in the country and political crisis and for the corruption schemes. Thus, Arseny Yatsenyuk has announced from the stage, that the representative of Euromaidan, Borys Tarasyuk, will attend Wednesday’s special meeting of US Senate where the issue of Ukraine and the possibility of imposing the sanctions will be discussed. According to the previous information, US Senate already has the list of the names of officials who will probably face the sanctions. Opposition and Euromaidan protesters demand Vitaly Zakharchenko and other Interior Ministry officials responsible for the recent violence in the country to head this list.

Automaidan heading to Yanukovich's and other officials'
(Image: Unian)
European Parliament in its turn also considers the possibility of imposing the personal sanctions against some Ukrainian officials. In addition to that investigations of the sources of financial assets of these high officials including the family of Yanukovich are also ongoing.

Meanwhile, Automaidan has held the rallies to the residence of Yanukovich in Mezhygirya in order to deliver the President the demands of the people and the invitation to the People’s Court to be held in Independence Square. More than 200 cars with activists headed to the President’s posh residence located outside of Kyiv. Massive cordons of road police, police and special security forces have blocked the way to the residence, as the policemen urged protesters to retreat, but the activists broke the cordons and staged the demonstration several meters for the Yanukovich’s residence. After that the column of the cars moved to the residences of other high officials affiliated with the current regime.

Tens of thousands of people remain in the Independence Square continuing the anti-government protests.