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Supporters, opponents of Ukraine's Timoshenko put up tents in Kiev

October 11, 2011, 6:52 UTC+3

Most of them are young men in jumpsuits who stay away from contacts with the mass media

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KIEV, October 11 (Itar-Tass) — Monday night, activists and supporters of Ukraine's ruling Regions Party, began putting up tents with the party's emblem and the slogans saying 'Enough!' along Kreshchatik, the main high street in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

A tent camp has also appeared on the side of the street opposite the entrance to the building of the Pechersky district court, where a sentence for the former Prime Minister, Yulia Timoshenko, is to be read out Tuesday.

The camp has been arranged by the activists of the Combined Arms Union of Ukraine. Most of them are young men in jumpsuits who stay away from contacts with the mass media.

Sources in the Batkivshchina /Fatherland/ party, of which Timoshenko is the leader, told Itar-Tass a small brawl between supporters of the Regions Party and the pro-Timoshenko forces had occurred on Kreshchatik earlier Monday.

“The Regions Party doesn’t have permission to assemble the tent camp in the downtown but a reinforced police patrol that’s guarding the place doesn’t put up any obstacles to them,” a spokesman for Batkivshchina’s press service said.

“And recall that earlier the Berkut special assignment unit didn’t let us install the tents in front of the Pechersky court building,” he said.

Nonetheless, the opposition has managed to place several of its tents on Kreshchatik somehow.

Deputy Chairman of the Fatherland party, Alexander Turchinov told Channel 5 TV that Timoshenko’s supporters were planning to spend all the early morning until dawn near the Pechersky court.

“We can’t admit a situation where an innocent person may end up in a jail ward and that’s why we’ll be pressing for Yulia Timoshenko’s freedom,” Turchinov said.

The police sealed off the opposite side of Kreshchatik, which is a pedestrian zone. The opposing camps thus found themselves in disengagement.

The Regions and the Fatherland supporters have put up about ten tents on each side of the ‘disengagement zone’.

Spokespeople for both camps said they expected an arrival of thousands of their supporters to the site in the morning.

Timoshenko’s lawyers believe the reading out of the sentence will take three to four hours.

“Materials of the case don’t contain a single proof of her guilt and the charges against her are absolutely absurd,” said MP Sergei Vlasenko, who is acting as a defender in the Timoshenko case.

The accusations issued to Timoshenko by the Office of the Prosecutor General suggest the natural gas agreements she signed with the Russian government in 2009 inflicted a damage of about $ 188 million on the Ukrainian economy.

Yulia Timoshenko denies all the charges, claiming it was she who led Ukraine quite efficiently out of the gas crisis in 2009, and the indictment against her “doesn’t contain any evidence that would proof any infringements on the law on my part.”


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