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Mass protests in Ukraine to demand EU pact
AFP | November 25, 2013 00:38
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Tens of thousands of pro-Western Ukrainians rallied in the capital Kiev Sunday to protest against the government's decision to scrap a landmark EU trade treaty.

The protesters, waving European Union and opposition party flags, marched through the center of the city chanting pro-Western and anti-government slogans.

The rally was expected to grow as more groups of demonstrators converged amid a light police presence, heeding the opposition's call for a massive protest.

Police said that rally organizers had notified the authorities that up to 100,000 protesters were expected, but its own estimate was 20,000 people.

Some held posters saying "We are not the Soviet Union, we are the European Union" and "I Love EU." The crowd also chanted calls for unseating President Viktor Yanukovich and releasing ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko from jail.

Police said some demonstrators threw eggs at the statue of Soviet revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin as the crowd passed close by.

"We feel that we are Europeans," said 19-year-old Alexandra Prisyazhnyuk. "We hope to show our force, to show that we mean something in our own country."

Kiev unexpectedly announced Thursday it was halting preparations to sign an Association Agreement with the EU at a key summit in Vilnius this week, a decision Western diplomats said was made under pressure from Moscow.


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