Ukraine had to on Sunday deal with a protest that turned violent. The East European country has had to deal with growing anger as to what is being considered in the populace as the government’s decision to freeze integration with the West.
The protest in Kiev went ahead despite a ban on protests in what is a blatant move of anger against the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign a political and economic agreement with the European Union. The protesters numbering about 300,000 were also anger from earlier heavy-handedness used against protesters two previously.
Even though the opposition had only asked for peaceful protests and labour actions many people obviously thought more should be done. The growing unrest in the polity led to thousands breaking away from the peaceful path and marching for the office of the president just nearby. Many of the protests in face protecting masks gave the police a tough time trying to disperse them. They threw stones and at them and tried to break through the police formation. After a long struggle, the police managed to use force to push back the mob leaving in their wake what looked like head injuries. Many of the injured protesters had to be taken away by ambulance.
Opposition leaders condemned the violence as trying to discredit and give a bad name to their peaceful protest efforts. They even accused the government of being behind the violent protests by hiring thugs in what can be called a white-flag attack to try to give them a bad name.
World boxing champion Vitali Klitschko led other opposition leaders to the president’s office to try to urge the protesters to return to Independence Square, the ground level of the peaceful protest efforts. Things looked calm however on Sunday night in Ukraine with many riot police officers seen standing guard. Opposition leaders while addressing the crowd requested that the president step down. “Our plan is clear: It’s not a demonstration, it’s not a reaction. It’s a revolution,” said Yuriy Lutsenko, a leader of the opposition. “Our future is being decided here in Kiev,” Vitali Klitschko said.The protests had reminders of the 2004 Orange Revolution when again up to several hundreds of protesters set up a camp along the way leading up to the square. Opposition leaders have called for people across the country to join the protests in the capital.
When the parliament meets on Monday for a session, the opposition members would be looking for enough votes to out the president.
The United States issued a statement pleading for peace and that all differences should be amicably resolved. “All stakeholders in the political process to establish immediate dialogue to facilitate a mutually acceptable resolution to the current discord.” part of the statement read.
The protests have been a daily occurrence since the President of Ukraine refused to an agreement that would have enhanced better trade relations with the European Union and also fostered better political ties. He said Ukraine could not afford to break off its Russian ties.
The agreement was meant to have been signed on Friday. Ever since then, the violence have grown culminating in the rally turning violent.
By Olajide Jatto