News / Europe

Thousands Rally in Ukraine for EU Integration

Demonstrators march and carry an EU flag during a protest in Kyiv, Ukraine, Nov. 24, 2013.
Demonstrators march and carry an EU flag during a protest in Kyiv, Ukraine, Nov. 24, 2013.
VOA News
Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, to protest the government's decision not sign a landmark trade deal with the European Union.

Protesters waved Ukrainian and EU flags while chanting pro-Western slogans as they headed to the city's European Square.

Officially, between 20- and 50-thousand people are estimated to have turned out for the rally, which was organized by the country's opposition. Activists have put the number at above 100,000.

Thousands of riot police were deployed across the city with some clashes reported after demonstrators attempted to storm a government building.

Elsewhere in Kyiv, groups of pro-government demonstrators marched in support of the government's decision to halt the signing of the EU agreement.

Ukraine's Cabinet unexpectedly announced last week it was suspending preparations to sign a EU trade and cooperation agreement.

They announced instead that Ukraine would resume an "active dialogue" with Belarus and Kazakhstan, members of a Russian-led customs union, and other former Soviet republics with the goal of reviving trade and economic relations.

The country's parliament earlier refused to pass legislation that would free jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, which was a key EU condition for signing the EU deal.

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Comment Sorting
by: Oksana from: USA
November 25, 2013 12:18 PM

by: svyat from: Canada
November 25, 2013 8:30 AM
These protests are both to support the movement to EU and against any unions with Russia. Ukraine has always been a European country with deep democratic traditions, having its constitution already in the 18th century. In my opinion, EU should pay more attention to the events in Ukraine as well as to support its movement to Europe and protect it from Russia. Protecting Ukraine, Europeans will protect themselves, since Ukraine is the largest European country with enormous potential. Unfortunately, history has a tendency to repeat, and Russia with its aggression towards Ukraine (trade wars, blackmailing) and its intolerance to other nations reminds Nazi Germany with its aggression towards Czech Republic and intolerance to any "uebermensch.

Back in 1930ies European nations underestimated Nazi's danger, as well as today EU does not notice aggressive Russian behavior and pressure it puts on its neighbours in order to restore Russian Empire. Ukraine was a part of that empire for more than 300 years, and we paid a price of millions being killed or moved to Siberia just for being Ukrainians. Our language was prohibited (there were 2 laws, for instance, Valuev law in 1863 and Emskiy law in 1876, prohibiting the use of Ukrainian language in literature, at schools and universities), our people were killed during famine in 1932 - 1933, organized by Russian communists etc.

Therefore, we have no illusions about what it is like to be with Russia. In relationship with Russia you can be either a slave or an enemy. On the other hand, Ukrainians want to live in a democratic, tolerant society,free from corruption, where everyone obeys the law. These are the reasons, I believe, people are protesting on the streets today.

by: Jon Danzig from: London, UK
November 25, 2013 4:29 AM
Whilst the people of Ukraine are demonstrating that they want to join the European Union, in the UK some people are protesting that they want to leave. If the UK does divorce from the EU, it will be the first time a member state has ever left. Will the EU become a revolving door: Ukraine in, UK out?

The Conservative party has promised an EU in-out referendum in four years time if it wins the next General Election. But according to the latest opinion polls, Britain is evenly split on this issue, with about a 40% wanting to keep its membership of the EU, and about 40% wanting to quit.

Why is there a queue of countries that want to join the European Union, but so many people in the UK apparently want to exit? This weekend US academic, Dr Ted Bromund, argued in the Yorkshire Post that EU immigration puts a strain on the country’s social structure, and the EU threatens Britain’s sovereignty.

But is that really true? Today I’ve published an open letter to Dr Bromund providing a contrarian view: ‘Letter from Europe: Why I’m a Union man’:

by: Arkan from: Ukraine
November 24, 2013 12:18 PM
let me tell you that Putin does not like what he sees... this can get ugly. But the West is completely disoriented by the incompetent bungling of Obama. so, Putin might be tempted to inflict some real physical damage on Ukraine... he knows no one will oppose him...
Its like "Green-piss"... you know who they will never bother again...

by: Andrew Bain from: Vienna
November 24, 2013 11:05 AM
Does VOA actually have someone in Kiev? Pictures on every other news outlet reports over 100,000 out against the government and pictures show no one for the government (any initial participants clearly being paid). VOA sounds just like Russian media.

by: Anatoli from: Poland
November 24, 2013 10:39 AM
It has been over 180 thousands there!

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