More than one hundred Ukrainians gathered in Manchester this weekend to call for the end of political repression and the removal of President Viktor Yanukovych.
Described as the ‘revolution’ by opposition leaders in the Ukraine, many famous faces, including boxing heavyweight Vitali Klitschko, have protested against the president’s refusal to sign an EU Association Agreement.
Thousands marched into Kiev on November 30 and were ‘violently’ dispersed by police which lead to dozens injured and six protestors in intensive care.
First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Serhiy Arbuzov told Ukraina TV that a plan with the EU was being drawn up.
SOLIDARITY: Ukrainians gather at Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester
He said: “Our technical working group has returned from Brussels and this gives us a possibility of making right calculations on the state of our economy and analyzing the agreement on the free trade zone for each trade position.
“We’ll make the calculations and present them to Europe. The negotiations are underway, and this is the main thing.
“There is a roadmap of our negotiations in which we should include all the economically clear calculations and the step-by-step settling of the issue. We should include our steps in the roadmap with the determination of the term, which we’re doing now.”
Ukrainians living in Manchester gathered at Piccadilly Gardens on Saturday December 7 and again on Sunday December 8 in a show of support and solidarity for their democratic rights.
YOUNG AND OLD: People of all ages take part in protest
Bohdan Rutkowskyj, chairman of the Association of Ukrainians Manchester branch, said: “Attacking democratic free speech is going back to the dark times of the soviet era.
“It is time Yanukovych put the Ukrainian people and language first before Russian interests. We urge all free people to support the brave protesters in Ukraine who are fighting for democracy and ultimately for a peaceful Ukraine.”
Martyn Chymera organiser of the protests added: “Ukraine lived behind the Iron Curtain and does not want to return to such times.
“The Ukrainian community in Manchester calls on the support of the UK to recognise and act against the violence of the Ukrainian government against its people.”