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Vol. 78/No. 12      March 31, 2014

Protesters in London demand
Russian troops out of Crimea
LONDON — Chanting “Russian troops, leave Crimea!” several thousand protesters, most of Ukrainian origin, marched from Marble Arch in the city center here to the Russian Embassy March 16. Some came on buses from Nottingham, Birmingham, Manchester and other cities.

Among the scores of Ukrainian flags were those of other nations historically dominated by Russia, including Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Czech Republic, Moldova, Georgia and Chechnya. A substantial number of Russians also participated.

“The Russian people are not our enemies,” protest organizer Bohdan Ciapryna, a leader of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, told the crowd, pointing to the protests against the Russian invasion of Crimea across Russia the previous day.

The protests in Ukraine and London began in November as pro-EU demonstrations, Ciapryna said. “But as they went on, we started protesting against government corruption. When the government started killing demonstrators, it turned into a struggle for democracy and freedom. We’ve gotten rid of a dictator who shot his own people and then fled to Russia, but now we face an even bigger enemy — the Russian regime.”

Melek Maksudoglu described the long history of repression of her people, the Crimean Tatars. “Ukrainians and Tatars have lived together peacefully for hundreds of years. We are united against the Russian occupation,” she said.

One speaker was part of a group of about 50 young Venezuelans backing the pro-imperialist demonstrations against the government of Nicolas Maduro in that country. Among their slogans was the reactionary call for “Cuba out of Venezuela,” which they equate with the Ukrainians’ fight against the Russian invasion of their country.

“We want freedom from Russia to choose our own president,” Roman Popovych, who has lived in London for 14 years and works as a window cleaner, told the Militant. “Not a president for the rich, but for the poor. The rich will always look after themselves.”

Roman Kryvko, a construction worker who has lived for one year in London, pointed out that Ukrainians can’t come to work and study in the United Kingdom as can those from EU member countries. “We want to have a better life like everyone else,” he said.

Participants bought three subscriptions and 57 single copies of the Militant.
Related articles:
Working people at center of fight for Ukraine sovereignty
Militant’s on-the-scene report from Kiev
March in Toronto backs Ukrainian sovereignty
Moscow moves to seize Crimea after sham vote
Moscow rally protests Russian occupation of Crimea
Contribute to ‘Militant’ reporting team to Ukraine
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