Hundreds in Chicago's Ukrainian community gathered outside that nation's consulate, this time in celebration and remembrance. Christian Farr reports.
Once again hundreds in Chicago's Ukrainian community gathered outside that nation's consulate, this time in celebration and remembrance.
Supporters gathered Sunday not just to celebrate a regime chance in the Eastern European country but also to remember the dozens of protesters who were killed fighting for democracy.
“The people of Chicagoland, especially Ukrainian-Americans, are very concerned about what has happened in Ukraine,” said Pavlo Bandriwsky of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America. “We mourn the loss of the heroes who gave their lives for an independent, democratic Ukraine.”
More than 80 people were killed in gun battles with Ukraine's security forces as they fought for the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich.
Thousands of Ukrainians on Sunday transformed Kiev's Independence Square into a shrine to commemorate the protesters. They lit candles and laid flowers against the cobblestones and bricks that protesters had stockpiled as weapons against the police.
Yanukovich was ousted on Saturday, the day after he signed a peace deal with protesters. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday opponents of Yanukovich had failed to abide by that deal and had seized power, the ministry said. Lavrov told Kerry "the most important thing now is to provide for the complete fulfillment" of the agreement brokered by three top European Union diplomats.
Acting President Oleksander Turchinov said on Sunday Ukraine would try to improve relations with Russia but made clear that Kiev's return to European integration would be the priority, NBC News reported.
“We need the U.S. to step in and help us fight for democratic freedom,” said Ukrainian-American Christine Eckheart.
The group of protesters proudly sang their national anthem Wednesday, and said protesting in Chicago is what they can do about the heartbreaking violence abroad.
Those who took part in Sunday’s event hope the U.S., Canada and other European countries will lend a hand to help Ukraine rebuild.
“We want Ukraine to be part of the democratic class,” said Bandriwsky. “They’ve seen how their neighbors live in Russia, they do not want that. They want what we want, to live normal lives.”