Ukraine's anti-government protesters prepare for a week of confrontation

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Pro-Europe protesters have set up barricades to prevent access to government buildings in Kyiv. They intend to disrupt the running of the country as civil servants and politicians begin their working week.

On Sunday some of them toppled a statue of Lenin in a symbolic challenge to President Viktor Yanukovych and his plans for closer ties with Moscow.

“We could have done it in a civilised manner,” said one protester referring to the toppling of the statue. “We could have put it nicely in a museum like a piece of history. What has happened is the fault of the Communists, they have not given us the chance to do so in a civilised way because they are clinging to their past. They were against it so today, in our country, the only way to do it was like that.”

Provoked by the government’s decision to shelve an EU trade deal in favour of talks with Russia, the protesters and the authorities have confronted each other now for weeks.

Our correspondent Sergio Cantone who is in Kyiv explained the significance of the statue’s demise:

“The toppling of the Lenin statue is a controversial move for many Ukrainians, but the symbolism is important. A page of history has been turned, because for many Ukrainians this statue on Shevchenko Boulevard in the centre of Kyiv, was the symbol of a power that must not return. In other words the symbol of the old Soviet Union for many Ukrainians is already over.”

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