“We have come here to show that we feel European”.
So said one of the tens of thousands of Ukrainians marching through Kiev to denounce their government’s U-turn over EU integration.
Urged to take to the streets by jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, tight security surrounded the demonstrators. And while many protested peacefully, carrying a giant EU flag, scuffles have taken place. In one incident, a tent set up by rival Communists was torn to piece amid cries of “Shame”.
Nearby a rally was being held in support of the government’s decision to turn its back on Brussels in favour of reviving ties with Russia.
President Viktor Yanukovich had been due to sign a landmark deal with the EU next week. But he came under pressure from Russia, Ukraine’s biggest trading partner and main source of gas, to join a Moscow-led customs union instead.