Tuesday, November 23, 2004

People Power: In Defense of Democracy

Ukraine Opposition Leader Claims Victory : "Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko defiantly claimed Ukraine's presidency Tuesday, taking a symbolic oath of office in parliament, as around 200,000 of his orange-clad supporters massed outside in the frigid streets of Kiev demanding the disputed election be overturned.

Yushchenko warned of 'civil conflict' if he is not recognized as the country's new leader, accusing the government of rigging Sunday's run-off in favor of pro-Kremlin Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

On the parliament floor, after a special session, Yushchenko approached the podium and swore an oath on a 300-year-old Bible as lawmakers who backed him shouted, 'Bravo, Mr. President!'

Outside, throngs of his supporters massed behind metal barriers, holding a giant orange ribbon over their heads. They chanted 'Criminals, go away!' and 'Yushchenko!' Some waved signs reading, 'Today or Never.' Earlier, Yushchenko led the crowds in a march on the building, turning Kiev's narrow, brick streets into a sea of orange - the color of his campaign...."