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Friday, November 19, 2004


PORA in the spotlight

From Kyiv Post:

"The government wanted to quietly manipulate the election, but we are interfering," said Pora activist Anastasia Bezverkha. "Our actions are raising social tension, and that's what Ukraine needs right now."

Pora called a one-day "student strike" on Nov. 17, combining with other student movements to demand a fair vote in the Nov. 21 second round.

Hundreds of Pora activists - some covering their faces with trademark yellow-and-black bandanas - filled a Kyiv square ahead of a planned concert, handing out leaflets to businessmen and grandmothers passing by.

In the western city of Lviv, about 8,000 students representing Pora and other student movements carried posters reading: "Dictatorship will collapse!" and "Everyone should fight!" Police stood in columns watching.

Yanukovych's supporters have accused Pora and other opposition groups of planning to seize power if the election does not go their way.

Pora's decision to put revolutionary icon Ernesto "Che" Guevara - wearing a traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirt - on their T-shirts also raised eyebrows.

"I wouldn't say that we are trying to make a revolution," said Nina Sorokopud, a 22-year-old student in Kyiv in the group's temporary basement office. "For us Che is a symbol of protest and freedom, not of revolution."

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