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Turnout falls but Ukraine protesters vow to stay put over holidays

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Turnout falls but Ukraine protesters vow to stay put over holidays

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What now for Ukraine’s anti-government protesters?

Opponents of President Viktor Yanukovych were still in Kyiv’s Independence Square on Monday but the initial momentum of their movement looks to be wearing thin.

Sunday’s rally drew far fewer people than previous weeks. Yet diehard demonstrators are determined to stay put throughout the holiday period.

“We are trying to stay here…even me, I am 64-years-old,” said protester Valentyna Olynik. “I am not in the best of health but I can’t stay at home. I can’t be sitting and watching what these leaders are doing. Just think about it. How could they give the order to beat students?”

The protests, sparked by Ukraine’s decision to shelve a trade deal with the EU and favour ties with Russia, now seek to force the president’s resignation.

In a new initiative, opposition leaders are establishing a nationwide political movement called ‘Maidan’, a reference to the Ukrainian name of the protest site.