Ukraine Opposition Announces Creation of New ‘People’s Movement’
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Ukraine’s opposition urged pro-EU demonstrators in Kiev to continue their rallies against the government, encouraging the protests to spread across the country by announcing the creation of a new movement.
About 40,000 people had gathered in Kiev’s Independence Square for the fifth Sunday in a row to protest against President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision to ditch a trade deal with the European Union in favor of an agreement with Russia – its old master.
The move angered many Ukrainians who had hoped to ingrain some of the democratic structures of the West. After a violent police crackdown on a peaceful rally, the protests turned against Yanukovych himself.
Although the demonstrations appear have been running out of steam since Yanukovich inked the deal with Russia on December 17, more people than expected turned up for the pre-Christmas rally and organizers called on them to stay.
FRANCE 24’s Kiev correspondent Gulliver Cragg reported that the opposition announced the creation of the nation-wide “People’s Movement of Maidan”, a reference to the Ukrainian name of the protest site, Maidan Nezalezhnosti. The movement brings together both political parties and civil society organizations.
“One of the main goals of this movement – and almost all of the speakers today insisted on this point – will be to convince Ukrainians in the east and south of the country, who are traditionally a lot more skeptical of the European Union to join in the movement against Viktor Yanukovich,” he said.
Far-right nationalist leader Oleh Tyahnybok said: "we will make life hell for this government."
The new bloc, however, lacks a clear leader, being co-chaired by Klitschko, Tyahnybok, Arseny Yatsenyuk, head of Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party, and Yulia Tymoshenko, a jailed former prime minister and Batkivshchyna's first leader.
The lack of tangible achievements is wearing down protesters, said Mykhailo Pohrebinsky of the Kiev Center of Political Research. But it could also push some towards more radical action and spark violence.