News / Europe

Ukraine’s Pro-Europe Forces Consolidate Gains After Mass March

Protesters rally at Independence Square in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Dec. 2, 2013, as anger mounts at the decision to ditch a deal that would bring closer ties to the European Union.
Protesters rally at Independence Square in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Dec. 2, 2013, as anger mounts at the decision to ditch a deal that would bring closer ties to the European Union.
James Brooke
Ukraine’s pro-European demonstrators erected barricades Monday, consolidating their control over Independence Square in the core of Kyiv, the nation’s capital.

A few blocks away, they surrounded the Government Building, forcing Cabinet members and staffers to work elsewhere.

Protesters occupied City Hall, renaming it “Revolution Headquarters.” A few blocks away, at another occupied building, three opposition leaders talked to a wall of TV cameras.

Arseniy Yatseniuk, leader of the Fatherland Party, declared the opposition’s goal: “To hold snap parliamentary and presidential elections. This is the will of the Ukrainian people. Just look at the streets,” he said.

Outside, an ebb and flow of thousands of protesters listened to speakers proclaim that Ukraine’s future is with Europe while also denouncing the government of Victor Yanukovych as undemocratic and corrupt.

The protesters were defending gains won Sunday by a mass march. As many as one million people marched through central Kyiv - the largest protest since the Orange Revolution of a decade ago.

Triggers

Ukrainians are galvanized by two events.

First, President Yanukovych made an abrupt U-turn when he yielded to Russian pressure and decided not to sign a trade and political association pact on Friday with the European Union.

Then, on Saturday, videos were posted on the Internet showing riot police attacking peaceful protesters in Kyiv’s Independence Square.  

By the end of the weekend, Ukrainians were shocked to learn that 300 people were injured. Half of them were police. Forty-three were journalists.

Vitaly, a 48-year-old businessman, explained why he and his wife were walking behind the barricades on Kreschatyk, Kyiv’s main avenue.

“At first, we were here for Europe," he said. "Now we are against the government.”

At the far end of the avenue, Giorgi, a Ukrainian Orthodox priest, stood behind a barricade that towered over his head.
“The last straw was the police beatings of women and children,” he said.

On Monday, the government showed a conciliatory side. The police chief of Kyiv was fired.

Further steps

The speaker of the parliament, Volodymyr Rybak, a leading government figure, dismissed talk of declaring of state of emergency. Instead, he scheduled a confidence vote in the government for Tuesday. He also talked of dialogue through round tables - the same political formula used to fashion a peaceful exit from the Orange Revolution of 2004.

Vitaly Klitschko, the boxer turned leader of the Udar opposition party, told reporters that today’s political confrontation should be solved peacefully.

“Step by step," he said. "Peacefully. Friendly. Within the law.”

President Yanukovych has decided to go ahead Tuesday with a four-day trip to China. Evidently, he hopes that Kyiv’s freezing temperatures will cool political passions.

But some analysts say the president would be wise to stay home and shore up his political base.

Several legislators abandoned his party over the weekend. On Monday, opposition street protests were held in three cities in Russian-speaking Eastern Ukraine - long the president’s political heartland.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Vladimir Arkan from: Ukraine
December 02, 2013 4:50 PM
I told you, this is growing every minute...!!! we are going to win..!! no more the filth of Russia, no more threats, no more intimidation, no more decay and destitution corruption and degradation. Ukraine will rise economically - we have enough jews here to build "Wall Street" and enough jewish mathematicians to guarantee the most advanced technological innovations. if Russia just stop threatening us and intimidate our weak leaders we can be a great contributing member to the European coalition... we are productive, hard workers, we are caring people and compassionate people and we have the brains to propel us forward into economic prosperity.
In Response

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
December 03, 2013 12:04 AM
I encourage you Ukrainian people to be able to be independent actually and fully upon Russia both politically and economically. I know your homeland is fertile and yields sufficient agricultural products. I am sure you could play a role as one of EU leading members even to offer bailouts to bankrupting members. Good luck Ukraine!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs