KyivPost

EuroMaidan hits road to Yanukovych's Mezhyhirya

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Dec. 29, 2013, 10:01 p.m. | Photo — by Kyiv Post
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A 1,000 car caravan carrying several thousand people made it to within 300 meters of President Viktor Yanukovych's palatial Mezhyhirya estate north of Kyiv. The multimillion-dollar home is a leading symbol of corruption to administration critics. After a rally there on Dec. 29, organizers planned to travel to the homes of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and Verkhovna Rada speaker Volodymyr Rybak.
© Kostyantyn Chernichkin

Kyiv Post

Restless EuroMaidan demonstrators decided not to stay on Kyiv's Independence Square during a rally on Dec. 29, the sixth consecutive Sunday rally of the movement. A caravan of more than 1,000 cars carried several thousand activists 10 kilometers north of Kyiv to President Viktor Yanukovych's palatial Mezhyhyria estate, a sprawling multimillion-dollar former state property that the administration's critics consider to be a leading symbol of corruption.

While the first cars were stopped at the turn to Mezhygirya mansion, right on the main road, police relented  when the main car caravan approached. Police decided to remove the trucks and police cars to let the crowd through. 

The protesters got stopped by police again some 300 meters away from the mansion. This time the road was blocked by several dozen buses and six rows of riot police officers. Police officers were standing even along the nearby streets, blocking entrances to the houses so people couldn't get through the yards. 

People spent more than two hours near the president's residence, calling on him to come out and speak to his nation. They chanted EuroMaidan classic slogans like "Glory To Ukraine! Glory To Heroes!" and "Gang Out!" as well as singing the national anthem. The protesters also showed their support to Ukrainian journalist and activist Tetyana Chornovol, who got beaten on her way home late at night on Dec. 25 and is now at the hospital, chanting  "Tanya, we are with you!"

A group of activists even brought a real-size coffin and placed it in front of the riot police. The coffin symbolized "death of Yanukovych's criminal regime," they explained.

Later some in the rally continued on to the homes of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and Verkhovna Rada speaker Volodymyr Rybak.

Opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk said that the EuroMaidan demonstrators will regularly picket the president's 138-hectare estate or even make a permanent protest camp near the area if he doesn't meet three demands: forcing Prime Minister Mykola Azarov to resign, ensuring that those guilty of violence against journalists and activists are punished, and freedom for all jailed protesters.

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