100,000 demonstrate in Kiev as anti-government protests to demand early vote enter 2nd month

12/22/2013
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Ukraine-Protest-52

Pro-European Union activists warm themselves by a fire prior a rally in Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013. Protesters in Kiev are demanding the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych over his decision to ditch a pact with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Pro-European Union activists gather Sunday in Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine.
Pro-European Union activists gather Sunday in Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine.

KIEV, Ukraine — About 100,000 demonstrators are gathering in the center of the Ukrainian capital to demand the ouster of the president and government, as mass anti-government protests enter their second month.

The rallies that have turned Kiev into a giant protest encampment were sparked by President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision last month to choose ties with Russia over the West. After dozens were injured in violent police crackdown on a peaceful rally, the protests turned against Yanukovych himself.

Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko urged the crowd on Sunday to spend the New Year and the following weeks on Kiev’s Independence Square to force Yanukovych into early presidential and parliamentary elections. Other leaders are announcing plans to transform the protests into a nationwide civic movement.