BRAMA, Dec 1, 2004, 1:00 am ET|
Ukrainians color London blue, yellow - and orange
By Tony Leliw
Bishop Paul Chomnycky
More than 3,000 Ukrainians from around Britain attended a mass rally on
Sunday in support of opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko.
The demonstration by the statue of Prince Volodymyr, close to the Ukrainian
Embassy in west London's leafy Holland Park, was the culmination of a
week-long campaign by the For Fair Elections Group.
Amidst the sea of blue and yellow flags and orange scarves, and protesters
shouting "Yushchenko!" almost continously, was Taras Chaban, one of the
demonstrations organisers, who vowed that this action would continue until
the protest ended in Kyiv.
Cheers went up as the rain poured onto the crowds when it was announced on a
megaphone that Yushchenko's office were aware of the demonstration and had
sent a big thanks - to which the crowd responded with a chant of "molodtsi,
The group had earlier in the week sent a delegation to 10 Downing Street,
where they handed in a petition signed by nearly 2,000 people, calling for
the British Government to support Ukraine's democratic struggle.
One of the delegation was Bishop Paul Chomnycky, spiritual leader of the
Ukrainian Catholic Church in Great Britain, who said: "I wanted to show the
support of the church. It was not the result we wanted - which was a
Yushcehnko victory - but in the past week Ukraine has become a true nation
united in a cause."
Fedir Kurlak, general secretary of the Association of Ukrainians in Great
Britain, said: "We're having a mass rally to give moral support to our
brothers and sisters in Ukraine who have turned out on the streets of Kyiv
since the rigged election results were announced.
"The rally is not just about Yushchenko, but about freedom, democracy and
justice in Ukraine. The Ukrainian people feel they have been robbed of
Father Bohdan Matwijczuk, of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in
London, said his church was supporting the Ukrainian independent nation. "It
is super to see so many Ukrainians here both those born in Britain and from
Ukraine standing for their nation - it is spiritually uplifting."
Jaroslav Mukan, 53, an engineer, living in London, said: "I came here to
support Viktor Yushchenko who I know personally because my brother works for
the Ministry of Agriculture in Kyiv. I am 100 per cent sure he will be
Roman Panas, 43, a British-born Ukrainian, from the Manningham area of
Bradford, but now living in London, said: "It is important that we make a
stand and not allow these false elections to be pushed through."
Some of the 60 people who came to the rally from Nottingham.
Mr Panas, who works for a computer company, said there were two coaches from
Bradford, covering West Yorkshire, organised by the Association of
Ukrainians in Great Britain.
During the rally numerous speakers spoke about the "rigged vote" and a
letter of support was read out on behalf of Conservative MP John Wilkinson,
who could not attend.
The founder and vice chairman of the British-Ukrainian All-Party
Parliamentary Group, Mr Wilkinson served the constituents of Bradford West
in the early seventies, when the area had a large Ukrainian population.
* * * * *
Tony Leliw is a London-based journalist whose articles have appeared in respected publications such as the London Evening Standard and The Times, as well as news services in Ukraine and the U.S.
Feature stories by Mr. Leliw that have been published on Brama include :
Oct 13 05 - From War to Westminster by Stefan Terlezki CBE. Book review by Tony Leliw
Dec 1 04 - Ukrainians color London blue, yellow - and orange
Nov 24 04 - Villanous Viktor un-Vanted in UK
Nov 2 04 - Britain votes for Yushchenko
Oct 11 04 - Polling station coordinator works to simplify constitutional obstacles for voters abroad
Jul 16 04 - 'Madam Hooch' rides her broomstick in from Odesa: Actress Zoë Wanamaker offers a glimpse into her family history
Jun 7 04 - British 'heavyweight' weighs in on Ukraine elections
Mar 22 04 - If you were an oligarch ...
Mar 7 04 - Why you'll never find all the eggs in one basket
Dec 3 03 - On His Majesty's Secret Service
Oct 1 03 - Vilified, slandered and abused for telling the truth about Communism
Jul 30 03 - Malcolm Muggeridge Centenary: the journalist who reported that more than 7 million starved to death in Ukraine
Mar 24 03 - Christian fundamentalism and corruption: a member of the British House of Lords offers her views on the Iraq war and Ukraine
May 27 03 - Voting, for a song
Jan 1 03 - The road from Ukraine to Westminster and back
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