KyivPost

Pro-government protesters: 'We will stay here until EuroMaidan leaves'

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Dec. 12, 2013, 8:49 p.m. | Photo — by Anastasia Forina, Kostyantyn Chernichkin, Oksana Grytsenko
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Party of Regions supporters languidly wave the flags of their party.
© Kostyantyn Chernichkin

Anastasia Forina

Kostyantyn Chernichkin

Oksana Grytsenko

The demonstration in Mariinsky Park is surrounded by metal constructions and guarded by several young people who stand at the entrance and keep close watch of people coming and going. 

To get inside journalists must show their press credentials.

Thousands of people, many of whom carry big and small blue-and-white flags of the pro-government Party of Regions or wear clothing with party symbols walk around the sprawling square which, with its panoramic view of the Dnipro river and east bank, is typically a popular place for locals to stroll on weekends. But now the panoramic view is closed off by a a line of biotoilets.

Some of the protesters here are crammed near the stage, where dancers and little-known pop singers perform, and Party of Regions deputies deliver speeches. Many more are getting food (buckwheat and pearl porridge) at field kitchens, resting in tents or sitting next to barrels fires.  

These are the supporters of President Viktor Yanukovych and his party, who lately have been called by media as anti-Maidan protesters. They say their rally entered its 10th day on Dec. 11, and that they will stay until a pro-European rally at Independence Square ceases.

The Kyiv Post talked with about a dozen of them.

Speaking on condition of anonymity one woman said that participants of the rally are paid Hr 300 or more so they have a chance to make money without going to work. She also recalled cases when they were not let outside the rally for the whole day, while inside the camp she also was concerned of garbage and dirty toilets on the territory.

But on the record they hail President Yanukovych and condemn protesters on Independence Square for sharing disorder and attempting to oust the legal authorities.      

“Our president should be Viktor Yanukovych,” said Halyna Bernatska, 34, church choir assistant, who came from Cherkasy Oblast. “Every authority comes from God, no matter what it is.”

Bernatska said she felt offended that TV channels as well as European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton ignored pro-government rally. “Aren’t we the people as well?” she said. She also believed opposition organized their rally just because they are “trying to come to power.”

Svitlana Pokrasa, 46, shop assistant, who came to Kyiv from the small town of Vyshneve in two kilometers from Kyiv, is like many other participants of the rally a member of Party of Regions.   

“I don’t think he (Viktor Yanukovych) will be able to reach a compromise with opposition leaders,” she said. “I’ve read the Constitution; they have no right to reelect the president until 2015, so he should remain for at least two years,” she added.

But some of them also feel sorry about people beaten by the police. “I saw on TV a young man beaten,” said Maria Kubliy, 26, house wife from Kyiv. “It was horrible!” she added, admitting that at her rally everybody felt safe.

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