- Title: UKRAINE: Ukraine anti-government protesters prepare for Sunday mass rally
- Date: 14th December 2013
- Summary: KIEV, UKRAINE (DECEMBER 14, 2013) (REUTERS) TOP SHOT OF INDEPENDENCE SQUARE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE GATHERED AT INDEPENDENCE SQUARE BARRICADES AT INDEPENDENCE SQUARE ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTERS WITH POLICES BUSES IN THE BACKGROUND SEPARATING THEM FROM A PRO GOVERNMENT RALLY AT EUROPEAN SQUARE ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTERS WITH POSTERS ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTERS CHANTING "LOVE SAVE UKRAINE!" ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTERS IN FOREGROUND SEPARATED BY POLICE BUSES FROM PRO GOVERNMENT PROTESTERS WAVING BLUE FLAGS ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTERS TRYING TO SHOW THEIR BANNERS TO OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS AND CHANTING "YOU ARE WELCOME IN KIEV!" RIOT POLICE STANDING BY NEAR BUSES RIOT POLICE AND ANTI GOVERNMENT PROTESTERS CHANTING "EAST AND WEST ARE UNITED!" ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTERS TALKING OVER A BARRICADE AND POLICE TO PRO GOVERNMENT PROTESTERS PRO GOVERNMENT PROTESTER TALKING TO ANTI GOVERNMENT PROTESTERS SEPARATED BY RIOT POLICE ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTER TALKING TO PRO GOVERNMENT PROTESTER RIOT POLICE LINE DIVING RALLIES VARIOUS OF ANTI AND PRO GOVERNMENT PROTESTER EXCHANGING COMMENTS AS A POLICE LINE SEPARATES THEM BUSES AND RIOT POLICE SEPARATING THE TWO DEMOS VARIOUS OF RALLY AT INDEPENDENCE SQUARE (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) TATYANA, ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATOR, SAYING: "We believe that tomorrow more than a million people will come. The people arrive and arrive." (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) IVAN, ANTI-GOVERNMENT DEMONSTRATORS SAYING: "I think this rally in Maidan will be much bigger tomorrow than today because people continue arriving. They have left their jobs, their families and their homes." VARIOUS OF RALLY AT INDEPENDENCE SQUARE VARIOUS OF BANNER OF YULIA TYMOSHENKO AND ANTI-GOVERNMENT SUPPORTERS THOUSANDS OF DEMONSTRATORS AT INDEPENDENCE SQUARE
- Embargoed: 29th December 2013 12:00
- Location: Ukraine
- Country: Ukraine
- Topics: Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAD794QX6FE91SL6VS4I1ELA2ZO
- Story Text: Anti-government protesters have been pouring to Independence square on Saturday (December 14) ahead of a for a mass opposition protest planned on Sunday.
Just a few hundred meters away tens of thousands of Ukrainians rallied in support of President Viktor Yanukovich on Kiev's European square, separated by a line of riot police from anti-government protesters.
Opposition supporters have been camping since Nov. 21 in Independence Square - now known as the "Maidan", meaning "Square", or the "Euro-maidan" - in protest against Yanukovich's last minute refusal to sign an agreement bringing Ukraine closer to the European Union, in favour of Russia.
The protest has since grown in strength and turned into an all-out movement against the president and his administration.
Opposition supporters said they expected more people to come and swell the ranks of anti-government demonstrators who have barricaded Independence Square in response to further police action.
"We believe that tomorrow more than a million people will come. The people arrive and arrive," said Tatyana.
Buses that brought many of the pro-government protesters to Kiev in the early hours from Donetsk and other cities in eastern Ukraine - the traditional stronghold of the Party of Regions - were parked in streets around the rallying point in European Square.
But at the Maidan people vowed to stay on, accusing Yanukovich of trying to turn back the clock and move Ukraine closer to its Soviet-era overlord Russia.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Ukrainian demonstrators were overreacting to the country's policy swerve to Russia and criticised the West for excessive involvement in the protests.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Friday had criticised EU politicians, such as EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who have visited protest sites in recent weeks.
U.S. Republican Senator John McCain arrived in Kiev on Saturday for two days of talks with state officials as well as the opposition.
Fears of violence persist after scuffles with police on Dec. 11.
But in the square, the atmosphere was peaceful. Early morning prayers followed by an aerobics session presented on-stage started the day for protesters who stayed overnight. Others brought their children or grandchildren into the square on the sunny Saturday morning.
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