Kiev: Tensions rose in Ukraine on Sunday
between the authorities and supporters of imprisoned
opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko after a court said an
indefinite protest demanding her release was illegal.
Some 100 members of the elite Berkut anti-riot police
unit patrolled the edge of a tented camp set up by Tymoshenko
supporters in central Kiev as rumours spread that the
authorities could forcibly remove the protest.
In a tense stand-off, around 100 supporters of the
ruling Regions Party staged a counter rally opposite the
street from Tymoshenko`s supporters as street protests
returned to Kiev in an echo of the Orange Revolution of 2004.
"We are going to stay despite the attempts by the
authorities to remove us. We are not scared, we just want our
children to be able to live in a normal country," said
Tymoshenko supporter Galina Zanko, 58.
Several dozen Tymoshenko backers chanting "Yulia, you
are not alone" also rallied outside her Kiev detention centre
as a small group of policemen watched on.
A larger demonstration was scheduled for Monday when
the court was due to reopen a controversial hearing that could
put one of the country`s most flamboyant but divisive figures
in jail for seven to 10 years.
The presiding judge on Friday ordered Tymoshenko
arrested for contempt in a dramatic turn to a trial she claims
is part of a political vendetta pursued by her current rival,
President Viktor Yanukovych.