Kiev, Ukraine (4E) – The anti-government protest in Kiev, Ukraine intensified Sunday as the number of demonstrators in Independence Square swelled and angry activists destroyed a Lenin statue.
The protesters supported by opposition groups were demanding for trade ties with the European Union (EU) instead of with Russia following President Viktor Yanukovych’s recent decision to backtrack from a trade pact with EU in favor of the Moscow-led Customs Union.
A statue of Russian communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, which symbolizes historic ties between Ukraine and Russia, became the target of angry protesters, who toppled it and smashed it into pieces.
Jailed former prime minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko told the crowd in a message read by her daughter Yevgeniya to not negotiate with authorities. She also called for Yanukovych to be removed.
Heavyweight boxer and Udar Party leader Vitaly Klitschko called for early parliamentary and presidential elections.
Aside from the square, protesters were occupying buildings including Kiev City Hall and blocked access to the areas.