Reports suggest up to 15,000 supporters of Ukraine’s President Yanukovych have gathered in front of the country’s parliament in Kyiv.
The rally is thought to be an attempt to counter the huge pro-Europe demonstration in Independence Square.
Strict security measures are said to be in place, with demonstrators apparently protected by two tiers of police office. Special identification cards are reportedly needed to join the rally.
Yanukovych’s strongest support comes from the widely pro-Russia south and east of Ukraine.
“The aim of our demonstration is to support Yanukovych and for him to remain president,” says one supporter from eastern Ukraine. “He gave us a normal life.”
Also a Yanukovych supporter, Elena Obelets from Kiev told euronews that she thinks political talks could put an end to the protests:
“We came here to support our president through these hard times when our society is divided,” she explained. “We are asking our opponents to use political solutions to move people off the streets.”
Although Yanukovych did not sign a recent partnership deal with the EU, his supporters claim they are pro-Europe and have adopted the rally slogan “building Europe in Ukraine.”
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