Ukraine is gearing up for a week of intensifying street rallies as the country’s political stand-off continues unchecked. A spokesman for Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of Regions has predicted tens of thousands will gather to demonstrate in Kiev today on what is a public holiday. Supporters of President Viktor Yushchenko, meanwhile, have vowed to do the same tomorrow. The crisis was precipitated by Yushchenko’s decision last week to dissolve the legislature and hold new elections.
Yanukovich has challenged the decree in the Constitutional Court and refuses to take part in the new poll. Yanukovich’s backers have sought to recreate the atmosphere of the 2004 protests which engulfed the former Soviet state, and have vowed to remain in tent camps until the President rescinds his decision. Yushchenko used the weekend’s Easter celebrations to stress that he would uphold order.