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You're reading: The Prague Post: Ukraine’s language law raises identity concerns

Despite public opposition and political wrangling, President Viktor Yanukovych signed Ukraine's controversial language bill into law earlier this month. The bill passed through the Ukrainian Parliament - the Verkhovna Rada - in early July, gaining the support of 248 deputies, thus easily clearing the required minimum of 226, albeit under controversial circumstances.

Dismissing
superficial government measures to quell popular discontent, hundreds
of Ukrainians took to the streets after the bill passed, in some of the
biggest demonstrations since the so-called Orange Revolution. The
protesters dressed in traditional clothes, waved national flags and
brandished portraits of the country’s poets such as Taras Shevchenko and
Volodymyr Sosyura, who are lauded for their works in Ukrainian. Among
those fighting back the tears caused by police pepper spray was
heavyweight boxing champ and leader of the UDAR opposition party,
Vitaliy Klytschko. People blocked the capital’s streets, picketed the
Ukrainian House political and cultural center in Kyiv and some even
declared themselves on hunger strike.

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