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24.11.2010

Demonstration against Tax Code continues despite ban

   

An indefinite demonstration by business people against the new Tax Code is continuing on Kyiv’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti [Independence Square]. The protesters’ demands remain unchanged: re-election of the Verkhovna Rada, the dismissal of the Cabinet of Ministers  and the President’s veto on the Tax Code passed last week. The government, analysts say, has not yet decided how to react to the situation.

On Tuesday, despite cold rainy weather, the protesters remained on the square, with several hundred there all the time and the number somewhat increasing towards evening.

Protest coordinator, Oleksandr Danylyuk: “As far as the Tax Code is concerned, the government is presently trying to divide us, making concessions to individual groups, however we are in solidarity. We will fight for each comma and clause and for our right to have our legislation passed not a few weeks, but half a year before New Year, as is set down in the Budget Code”.

Between threats to disperse them and promises of compromise

As reported, the court on 22 November, at the request of the Kyiv City Administration, banned protests in the centre of the centre. On Tuesday staff of the municipal services attempted to take down the tents erected on the square. Opposition parliamentarians are protecting the demonstrators from such actions. They have hung posters on the tents stating that these are their public surgeries where they hold meetings with their voters. The demonstrators have refused to move to another of the city’s squares.

Representatives of the authorities say that they are willing to make concessions. The first Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Klyuev has stated that the government is ready to work on the business people’s proposals. A similar statement was made by the Deputy Head of the President’s Administration, Hanna Herman.

Yanukovych and Azarov playing at good and bad cop?

According to political analyst, Yury Yakymenko, the government’s reaction to the protest has mellowed in the last 24 hours. He says that the scale of the action and fact that people have come out in protest has startled them. The situation is presently unclear with both sides waiting to see what the other side does.

Another analyst, Volodymyr Fesenko thinks that the President may listen to the business people’s demands, using the situation according to a good and bad cop scenario, with Azarov pushing an unpopular tax code, and the President stepping in to correct it.

The protest organizers are planning the next major demonstration for Thursday.

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