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Protesters in Kiev, Ukraine toppled a statue of Vladimir Lenin, in response to the Ukraine government’s push to have closer ties with Russia.
The Associated Press reported that the protest is due to the Ukrainians' disapproval of their President Viktor Yanukovych's actions. Yanukovych turned his back on talks with the European Union (EU) to begin a closer relationship with Russia.
Ukrainians were not pleased and began a protest that has spanned three weeks. One protester, 42-year-old Kostyantyn Meselyuk, expressed that the country needs a change that does not include its current president, “Ukraine is tired of Yanukovych. We need new rules. We need to completely change those in power. Europe can help us.”
CNN reported that Ukrainian police have estimated the crowd of protesters at about 100,000, who have done more than decapitate, destroy, and topple a statue of Vladimir Lenin. Protesters have also displayed their disagreement by rallying outside the cabinet and presidential offices as well as the office of government workers, blocking buildings and preventing some from working.
The protest is being hailed as the largest protest to hit Eastern Europe since the Orange Revolution took place in 2004.
Despite his people’s anger and protest, Yanukovych met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday.
An official statement from Putin's office said: “The two Presidents discussed current bilateral relations and preparations for the upcoming meeting of the Russian-Ukrainian Interstate Commission in Moscow.”
It has been speculated that Ukraine’s president did not join the EU due to threats of sanctions from Russia.
Below is a quick video of the statue being pulled down in Kiev, Ukraine:
Image: Wikimedia Commons