Ukrainian Businessmen Oppose Persecution of the Opposition

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Ukrainian entrepreneurs staged a rally recently near the Presidential Administration building in Kyiv. They demanded a stop to the harassment of activists who are against the new tax code and that criminal cases against the activists be closed. Our correspondents in Kyiv have the details.

On January 17th, Ukrainian entrepreneurs and representatives of opposition political parties organized a rally behind the walls of the Presidential Administration building in Kyiv.

They called for the closing of criminal cases against the so-called "tax Maidan" (the name given to a huge demonstration in Maidan Square in the center of Kiev last November) and a stop to the persecution of the opposition.

[Andrey Paruby, Member of Parliament]: 01.59
"Maidan of entrepreneurs showed how to provide efficient, effective resistance to authority. President Yanukovych and his team are scared to death of Maidan."

The entrepreneurs say the government wants to intimidate the activists and prevent new protests in the center of Kiev. Seven members of the protest against the tax code last November have had a criminal case brought against them.

They are accused of damaging the tile on Independence Square (another name for Maidan Square) in the center of Kyiv, and a massive blocking of the streets.

Two of the accused are now in jail.

Around 100 people are on the cases as witnesses.

Participants of the meeting say the tiles were damage in 2007 when tents were set up by the pro-presidential Party of Regions and representatives of the leftist forces.

However, there were no charges brought against them at that time.

Activists show pictures of those meetings with the pitched tents as evidence.

Roman Fedchuk is one of those whose case is open.

He is not allowed to leave the country and he fears measures against him may be tightened.

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