Ukraine's government maintains bitter standoff with protesters over European U-turn

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Ukraine's government maintains bitter standoff with protesters over European U-turn

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Tensions remain high in Ukraine’s capital as protester anger grows over President Viktor Yanukovych’s rejection of a pact with the EU in favour of Moscow.

The protester occupation of Kyiv City Hall reflects how pro-Europe sentiment has developed into pointed criticism of the government.

One activist explained why he was determined to continue protesting:

“We are not afraid of it. We are ready to stand against special police assaults, because what Yanukovych – beating students who held peaceful protests in Independence square – outraged all Ukrainian people and that was the last drop of patience among Ukrainians.”

“You know we are so fed up with Yanukovych, this bandit-like regime., this corruption that is killing us. We would rather die than continue existing in this regime,” said another City Hall occupier.

With the president abroad, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Mykola Azarov is trying to project an image of being in control in his absence.
Urging all sides to show restraint he said those who break the law will be punished.

Our correspondent Sergio Cantone in Kyiv said:

“ Prime Minister Azarov said that demonstrators cannot count on parliamentary privilege as the opposition leaders can. That sounds like a warning to protesters in order to convince them to throw in the towel otherwise they could get into trouble with the law. Despite that the crowd so far doesn`t seem to be willing to give up, in fact more and more people are coming every evening to Independence Square.”

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