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Thousands join protests in Kiev against rising gas prices, utility rates

July 06, 14:18 UTC+3 KIEV
A Radical Party leader accused the country’s leadership of deliberately annihilating the people
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© AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov

KIEV, July 6. /TASS/. Several thousand people took to the streets in Kiev on Wednesday on the initiative of Ukraine’s largest trade unions to join a protest march against a sharp rise in gas prices and utility rates that have nearly doubled as of July 1. Having marched to the center of the city, the protesters gathered outside the government building for an improvised rally.

"We have to give the entire salary to pay for public utilities," the participants in the rally said. "If the government is talking about European prices, then we should be paid European wages."

Addressing the protesters, representatives of the Ukrainian opposition parties minced no words to describe the policy of President Pyotr Poroshenko and Prime Minister Vladimir Groysman. Radical Party leader Oleg Lyashko accused the country’s leadership of deliberately annihilating the people, adding that "Poroshenko and Groysman will go down in the country’s modern history as the authors of the tariff genocide."

For her part, leader of the Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) political party Yuliya Tymoshenko demanded "cancelling taxes on pensions, lowering gas prices and using subsidies for paying wages and pensions." She noted that the country has the appropriate funds, which are used for other purposes, in particular, "two times more money than needed is spent on the army."

The participants in the rally also demanded setting a guaranteed minimum wage at the level the subsistence minimum of 3,067 hryvnia (about $123), raising pensions and education maintenance allowances.

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