Ukraine protest planned in Seattle

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by ALISON MORROW / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @AlisonMorrowTV

KING5.com

Posted on January 26, 2014 at 1:34 AM

Updated Sunday, Jan 26 at 1:34 AM

Ukrainian-Americans plan to protest at Seattle Center on Sunday as new waves of violence erupted overnight in Kiev.

"It's my country. It's my people," explained Yakiv Shadyrya.

Yakiv and his wife, Tatyana, were visiting family in Kiev 6 weeks ago when the protests began, after President Yanukovych tabled a long-awaited trade agreement with the European Union. Instead, he accepted a loan from Russia.

Opposition calls the move one of the most egregious in a long list of actions President Yanukovych has taken against democracy.

"This is like cancer on the country, this government. It's like they've corrupted every little piece of democracy," Tatyana said.

The couple emmigrated to the United States from Ukraine nearly 15 years ago in search of democracy. They believe the violence today is worse than it was when they left their country as part of the Soviet Union.

Sunday morning, protestors threw firebombs at police occupying a government conference hall. Police responded with tear gas.

Three protestors have died recently, and the Shadyrya family regularly receives messages from inside Kiev about ongoing kidnappings and torture.

"I don't have any word," Yakiv said. "It's so bad now."

Sunday afternoon, the family will join about 70 other Ukrainian-Americans in a protest that hope shows solidarity with the opposition in Ukraine and grabs President Obama's attention.

Yulia Shadyrya, Yakiv and Tatyana's daughter, calls the protests shocking, painful, and yet, inspiring.

"To see that people are finally standing up. It's like standing up to someone who's been bullying you for several years. It's very scary but it's also, there's no way back," she said.

The protest at Seattle Center begins at 2pm.

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