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3 Apr, 2009 16:06

Ukraine shaken by new protest

Ukraine's biggest political opposition party, which accuses the government of failing to tackle the credit crunch, has rallied thousands in the streets of capital Kiev demanding a change of power.

The Party of Regions which organized the rally, later decided to take a break in mass protests until April 14, when the ruling party will present their anti-crisis programme.

The leader of the party, Viktor Yanukovich, has strongly criticized the ‘Orange’ power, but has urged to give them one last chance.

“I wish we make this power resign in the nearest future. But let’s give them the last chance,” he said.

He also reminded that the country is in a very difficult situation, with one third of its industry not in function.

“Even during the war it was not as bad as it is now,” he said.

The biggest achievement of the ruling party, he said, is that “they managed to unite Ukraine, unite it in a fight against them.” Eighty percent of Ukrainians are against the government and the president, and these authorities will soon be gone, he said.

Although the situation is a déjà vu of similar protests over the last five years in Ukraine, this time the marchers in the streets of Kiev are more numerous than ever.

The participants are as many as in 2007: at least 40 to 50 thousand have gathered at the most important buildings in Kiev, including the parliament and Independence Square, which was the epicenter of the Orange Revolution.

Their sole demand is the change of power in Ukraine and to conduct another preliminary parliamentary election to change the political landscape once and for all.

The protesters believe that the current government has left the country in an impoverished state, whilst taking a substantial hit from the world financial crisis.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said Friday he would agree to an early presidential election only if they take place at the same time as parliamentary polls.

The crowds bore flags and banners of The Party of Regions with their slogans and logos. The organizers say that this is a one-day action, but the actual duration of that action cannot be predicted.

Earlier, the protests put a block on the working of the parliament. Later, however, protesters opened access to the building and removed posters calling for the resignation of the government from the walls.