- Title: UKRAINE: Polarising Yulia Tymoshenko urges protest to continue
- Date: 23rd February 2014
- Summary: EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL KIEV, UKRAINE (FEBRUARY 22, 2014) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) CROWDS IN MAIDAN WAITING FOR YULIA TYMOSHENKO WITH CANDLES IN MEMORY OF THOSE WHO DIED ON THE PROTEST BARRICADES PROTESTERS WITH CANDLES WOMAN WEEPING MORE OF PEOPLE WITH CANDLES PRIESTS ON STAGE DURING SERVICE FOR THE DEAD PHOTOGRAPHS OF THOSE WHO DIED DURING THE PROTESTS MORE OF PHOTOGRAPHS COFFIN CARRIED THROUGH CROWDS CHANTING 'Glory' (Ukrainian) CROWDS HOLDING MOBILE PHONE LIT UP LIKE CANDLES COFFIN OF PROTESTER KILLED DURING THE DEMONSTRATIONS AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT/ UKRAINIAN FLAG PEOPLE WITH MOBILE PHONE LIGHTS PROTESTERS PUTTING FLOWERS IN THE COFFIN PEOPLE HOLDING MOBILE PHONE LIGHTS FORMER PRIME MINISTER YULIA TYMOSHENKO ON STAGE (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) FORMER PRIME MINISTER YULIA TYMOSHENKO SAYING: "Today you have an open road to build Ukraine the way you want but it is important that you barely trust the politicians and bureaucrats. That is why you must stay here until you the person you trust is elected in an honest way." VARIOUS OF HECKLER BEING REMOVED FROM THE CROWD TYMOSHENKO HUGGED BY POLISH MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT JACEK SARYUSZ-WOLSKI PROTESTERS WITH POSTER OF TYMOSHENKO TYMOSHENKO HUGGING YURI LUTSENKO, FORMER INTERIOR MINISTER (SOUNDBITE) (English) POLISH MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, JACEK SARYUSZ-WOLSKI, SAYING: "I trust the opposition is able now, having the majority in parliament to form a government, a good government. I see the two risks: first the unrest in the eastern part, fuelled by those who are interested in killing it. Second Russia who is not respecting the sovereign and free choice of Ukraine to go towards the European Union." CROWDS IN MAIDAN
- Embargoed: 10th March 2014 12:00
- Location: Ukraine
- Country: Ukraine
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVAIGW4PSBCI5JDHJPZ55AN3BZS
- Story Text: Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko was freed by her jailors on Saturday (February 22) during the dramatic ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich, but an emotional speech from her wheelchair won a mixed response from Kiev's Independence Square.
Crowds gathered earlier on Independence Square, referred to as Maidan, to follow the day's events which moved rapidly after Yanukovich signed an agreement on Friday (February 21) with the opposition to have early elections.
He was impeached by the parliament less than 24 hours later.
And when the same parliament arranged for Tymoshenko's release, numbers on the square swelled.
An emotional service was held before her arrival for one of the 77 protesters killed by the security forces during the protests that escalated into beatings, mass arrests and two days of shooting battles around the square.
The braided Tymoshenko came after the service, looking tired after emerging from more than two years in prison and then hospital.
After praising the heroes that brought such fundamental change, she urged the protesters to continue the fight until the elections which the parliament set earlier to May 25.
"Today you have an open road to build Ukraine the way you want but it is important that you barely trust the politicians and bureaucrats. That is why you must stay here until you the person you trust is elected in an honest way," she said.
Her speech was briefly interrupted by a heckler who was removed from the crowd.
The response, however, was mixed.
Tymoshenko is a divisive figure in Ukraine, commanding devotion from some and contempt from others. Many Ukrainians have become disillusioned with a discredited political class, widely seen as a corrupt and elitist.
Small pockets of the crowd clapped and sang Tymoshenko's name, but the chants did not catch on. Whistles could be heard. Others listened silently.
Protesters have rallied on the square since November last year, when Yanukovich spurned a deal on closer ties with the European Union under pressure from Russia.
The EU brokered a peace deal on Friday, calling for an election by year-end, but protesters made clear they wanted Yanukovich out immediately.
But Russia condemned the parliament and the EU for the removing Yanukovich
His ouster is a stark reversal for Russian President Vladimir Putin's dream of recreating as much as possible of the Soviet Union in a new Eurasian Union, in which Moscow had counted on Yanukovich to deliver Ukraine as a central member.
Polish Member of the European parliament Jacek Saryusz said Russia was a real threat to democracy in Ukraine now that it had made a clear choice for partnership with Europe.
"I trust the opposition is able now, having the majority in parliament to form a government, a good government. I see the two risks: first the unrest in the eastern part, fuelled by those who are interested in killing it. Second, Russia who is not respecting the sovereign and free choice of Ukraine to go towards the European Union," he said.
Yanukovich, who enraged much of the population by turning away from the European Union to cultivate closer relations with Russia three months ago, had made sweeping concessions in the deal brokered by European diplomats.
But protesters immediately responded by saying they would not be satisfied until he was removed from office.
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