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Pro-president rally in Kiev as protesters picket government quarter

December 09, 2013, 13:43 UTC+3 KIEV

Some 600 people have assembled in front of the parliament building

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© ITAR-TASS/Maxim Nikitin

KIEV, December 09. /ITAR-TASS/. Activists rallying to support Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich are massing near the parliament building as those angered by the government’s snub to association with the European Union continue to blockade key government buildings.

Some 600 people have assembled in front of the parliament building. Flags are flying with symbols of the ruling Party of Regions. About 2,000 are expected to gather after a Sunday meeting brought together about 15,000.

Meanwhile, about 300 participants in mass rallies against the president’s U-turn on the EU deal can be seen around the rostrum on Kiev’s Independence Square, where appeals to “stand to the bitter end” can be heard.

Protesters who began the blockade of the government quarter on Sunday have built six barricades - one near the presidential administration building, another at the parliament building and four on Grushevskogo Street, blocking access to the government house.

A group of up to 60 protesters can be seen near two tents on Grushevskogo Street after a frosty night warming at blazing casks and cheered by Bandura musicians playing the national instrument of Ukraine. The entrance to the government building is barred by police and several dozen police buses can be seen nearby.

Blockade of the city roads and snowfall at night have caused huge traffic jams. This is the way Kiev residents “defend their future”, said a statement from opposition party UDAR (PUNCH).

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