Ukraine opposition urges more protests, forms political bloc
Sunday, December 22, 2013 - 01:35
Dec. 22 - Ukraine's opposition leaders urged supporters at a rally to stay on Kiev's main square through New Year and Christmas, as street protests appeared to lose momentum. Mana Rabiee reports.
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A hundred thousand protesters in the Ukrainian capitol on Sunday.
By any measure a large crowd.
But opposition leaders are worried.
After five weeks of mass anti-government protests, momentum is waning.
200,000 showed up to last weekend's rally.
Now, the major opposition parties are consolidating their power into one bloc.
They're calling it "Maidan" after this central square where protests have taken place.
(SOUNDBITE)(Ukrainian) LEADER OF OPPOSITION UDAR PARTY, VITALIY KLITCHKO, SAYING:
"They think we will go home, they think that it will dissolve by itself in a short time. It will not dissolve itself, it will never dissolve, because we understand we must make reforms, and the only way to do that is to change the government. Yes?"
Protests that began over the direction of economic ties have morphed into something bigger.
An all-out demand for President Vicktor Yanukovich to step down, and early elections.
Not everyone wants that.
On Sunday, thousands of pro-government supporters gathered for their own counter rally.
Viktor Yanukovich, they say, is the right man for the job.
(SOUNDBITE)(Russian) COORDINATOR OF ANTI-MAIDAN PROTEST, ANDRIY, SAYING:
"I have a question for opposition leaders and Euro-activists - what do they do? And what do they celebrate? They celebrate a month free from work, and they rally. The opposition leaders do nothing."
Keeping protesters on the street won't be an easy for the new opposition bloc.
The Orthodox Christmas is coming January 7 and the winter weather is only getting worse.
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