Weeklong protests in Ukraine continued Monday with thousands of people swarming government buildings in the capital, angry with officials who cut off a deal with the European Union and demanding the prime minister and cabinet resign.
As Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych reached out to the European Commission to discuss any issues with the EU agreement, he was seeing members of his party defect and facing a possible loss of confidence vote this week, The Associated Press said
. It would take 226 votes to oust Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and the cabinet.
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Ukraine’s opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko took the opportunity to talk with the thousands of protesters thronging Kiev.
“The government and the president should resign,” Klitschko said, according to Reuters.
“They stole the dream. If this government does not want to fulfill the will of the people, then there will be no such government, there will be no such president. There will be a new government and a new president.”
The protests, which turned violent Saturday when police used force to break up demonstrations, are pushing the EU talks back on track, with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski telling the AP that there would be a meeting with Ukraine’s first deputy prime minister, Serhiy Arbuzov.
Surveys before the last week of protests found that 45 percent of Ukrainians favor working with the EU rather than with Russia, the AP said. Those numbers may have shifted even further in favor of EU ties because of the anger and police violence.
The turmoil is occurring at a critical point for Ukraine’s economy, which has been in a recession for a year.
"The blockade of government offices and the National Bank of Ukraine, and the risk of a general strike, leaves me concerned now over Ukraine's ability to pay its way in the very short term,” Tim Ash of the Standard Bank in London told the AP.
Social media featured images of the protests, including video posted to YouTube of violence
. (Warning: Video link contains extreme violence, explosions, and graphic scenes.)
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