|Protests continue against Ukraine’s rejection of EU deal||
Pro-EU Ukrainians rallied in Kiev on Sunday for a new protest aimed at forcing President Viktor Yanukovych to resign after he sparked fury by rejecting an EU pact.
Waving EU and Ukrainians flags as well as the red-and-black banners of the wartime anti-communist Ukrainian Insurgent Army, around 200,000 demonstrators filled Kiev's iconic Independence Square to bursting point, according to AFP.
The rally was expected to become the biggest protest since Ukraine's pro-democracy Orange Revolution in 2004. However, news agencies and government officials gave varying accounts of the number of the people gathered in Kiev’s central square.
AP reporters on the ground estimated that more than 500,000 have crammed into and around Kiev's central square, waving European Union flags and singing the national anthem.
Ukrainian News Agency estimated the crowd to be about 600,000 in the square and surrounding streets.
But Kiev’s local police said that the rally in central Independence Square had drawn about 37,000 participants, citing data as of 14:00 local time (16:00 Moscow time).
Jailed Ukrainian ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko said the opposition was demanding the "immediate" resignation of Yanukovych, in a statement to the mass rally read by her daughter that was met by chants of "resign!" from the throng.
The Ukrainian government has threatened harsh measures against the demonstrators and arrested opposition activists, but the protests have only gained steam.
Probe into alleged attempts to 'seize power'
Meanwhile Ukraine's security service on Sunday opened a criminal probe into alleged attempts by individual politicians to seize state power, as mass protests against President Viktor Yanukovych raged in Kiev.
An investigation has been opened "into the illegal actions by certain politicians aimed at the seizure of state power," a Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) spokeswoman told AFP. The politicians were not named but the probe appears to target opposition figures who have repeatedly called on Yanukovych to quit.
Opposition ready for compromise
Ukraine’s opposition is ready for a compromise with the government, former head of the European parliament Jerzy Buzek told the media following his meeting with the oppositionists in Kiev, Itar-Tass reported.
“The opposition is ready for a compromise and does not have long-term demands. They are not expecting a new Cabinet any longer, they insist on some partial changes,” he said. “Now, they have only two basic demands - to punish those responsible for the events, which happened a week earlier, and to release all the detained.”
Once these demands are satisfied, they may begin negotiations, he said. Buzek said the Ukrainian opposition was ready to join the negotiations table and to come to a decision, which could stop the rallies and calm down the society.
“The opposition, coalition and the very Ukrainians fear the country may split, they fear stronger protests. They do not want people to distance from other people,” he said. Buzek added currently the nation was arguing which integration to chose from - with Russia or with the EU.
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