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KIEV, December 14 (Itar-Tass) - Ukraine’s ruling Party of Regions on Saturday is launching what may prove the largest-ever demonstration in support of President Viktor Yanukovich, the government and their policies. The demonstration is to last two days. The organizers have promised it may become open-ended. The rally will gather in European Square, next to Independence Square, the usual site of protests by the opposition.
On Friday the ruling party urged its supporters to come and demonstrate.
“The decision follows numerous requests from rank-and-file members of the Party of Regions,” parliament member Andrei Pinchuk said. According to the legislator the Party of Regions faction lately was rained with messages expressing people’s concern of the current developments in the country and expressing the wish to take part in an open-ended rally in support of the authorities aimed at preserving civil peace and accord in Ukraine.”
Many local activists of the Party of Regions left for Kiev on Friday. The largest groups are expected from the areas of Donetsk, Lugansk and Dnepropetrovsk. “There are students, factory workers, coalminers and retirees,” the rally’s coordination centre has said.
Groups of supporters of the current authorities have been gathering in a park in Kiev since December 3. A crowd of 20,000 is present there permanently. On Saturday and Sunday it may grow ten-fold to 200,000, so the rally will be held in European Square.
Reinforced police patrols have been moved to the area. European Square is just 200 meters away from the tent camp of the Opposition’s supporters in Independence Square.
Participants in a “people’s assembly” the Opposition has called on December 14 will begin to gather in Independence Square on Saturday morning.
After Friday’s round-table meeting with President Viktor Yanukovich, held in a bid to settle the political crisis, the leader of the UDAR party, heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, said the dialogue between the authorities and the opposition had failed and the “people’s assembly” would be held as expected.
“Only if we take to the streets, shall we be able to put pressures on the current authorities to make them respect people’s interests. There is no other way,” Klitschko said.
President Yanukovich has called on the people of Ukraine for calm and for ending the standoff.
“I am urging all of our people now protesting in the squares to calm down and to end the confrontation. Confrontations have never resulted in anything good,” he said.
Yanukovich asked the people to give the politicians, the authorities and the opposition to find a way out of this situation together.