UK GOVERNMENT PETITION IN DEFENCE OF PROTESTERS IN UKRAINE

06.12.13




AUGB has written to all branches and community organization to set out what has happened to date to support the protests in Ukraine, what is being planned and how you can help (even if you cannot personally attend a protest rally near you).

What has been done so far? 

1. On the same day as the Ukrainian government announced it was halting all preparations for signing the EU Association and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements, the AUGB issued a statement. This was disseminated on the website and through social media. A copy was sent to the Foreign Office, with an acknowledgement the next day that the Minister had been made aware of it.

2. With the full support of the AUGB and the Ukrainian Institute, a group of young Ukrainian activists (Euromaidan Working Group - EWG) organised a series of Maidany in London, starting outside the Houses of Parliament on 23 November and then regular evening meetings at the statue of St Volodymyr in Holland Park, including a march to the Russian and Ukrainian embassies last weekend. The meetings have been attended by Ukrainians of all ages and backgrounds and representatives of community organisations. An AUGB representative has spoken at each meeting. AUGB London has actively supported the protests – including by providing free tea and coffee for protesters after meetings.  

3. Protest actions have also been organised by communities in Coventry, Manchester and Waltham Cross.  More are planned.

4. The EWG used the AUGB statement as the basis for a petition to the EU, collected signatures and handed in the petition to the EU Commission representative on 28 November.

5. Immediately after the shocking police violence against protesters in Kyiv on 30 November, AUGB sent a protest via Twitter to the Prime Minister and to the UK’s Ambassador in Kyiv. AUGB’s President also wrote to and received a reply from the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Fule.

6. A press release was issued on Sunday 30 November demanding the impeachment of President Yanukovych and prosecution of all those responsible for the violence. As a result, AUGB received several requests for interviews on 30 November and 1 December: C4 News, BBC World Service Radio and TV and Radio 5 Live (with a total world audience well in excess of 500 million people). The communities in Bradford and Derby were also interviewed by their respective local radio stations. Members of the EWG have also given various interviews and have maintained contact with journalists and activists in Ukraine.

7. Every effort has been made to keep the AUGB website and Facebook up to date with the latest news from Ukraine and the reaction from the British media. This has been shared by other groups supporting the campaign. We have also been tweeting ‘live’ from the protest meetings and these tweets have been picked up and retweeted by many civic organisations in Ukraine who are actively involved in the protests. Ukrainska Dumka dedicated over 8 pages to the situation in Ukraine.

8. The Euromaidan Working Group has also disseminated photos and videos to their contacts in Ukraine so the protesters there know they have the support of Ukrainians in the UK. Footage and reports from our protests have featured on Channel 5, Inter, Hromadske TV, Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe, Unian and others.

What next? 

1. The Euromaidan Working Group will continue to organise protest meetings and information will be posted on the AUGB website / Facebook / Twitter, as well as disseminated by the Working Group directly to their contacts. Communities have been asked to organise similar meetings: they are an important way of getting the key message across to local press and to build a greater awareness of what is happening in Ukraine.

2. In co-operation with the Working Group, AUGB submitted an e-petition to the Government. Please support this petition by signing it yourself and by calling on as many other family and friends as you can to do the same.

There is also another petition prepared by students of Oxford in conjunction with the Ukrainian Institute in London which everyone should support. 

3. The Chair of the All Party British-Ukrainian Parliamentary Group, John Whittingdale MP, has called for a parliamentary debate on recent events in Ukraine and the brutal use of police against peaceful protesters. Appropriately, the debate will take place in Westminster Hall on 10 December, International Human Rights Day. Further details will be posted on our social media sites.  

We believe that the UK Government should not only condemn the police violence in Ukraine but it should also continue to insist that Ukraine fulfils all the preconditions set by the EU on strengthening democratic institutions. Please write to  or e-mail your local MP asking him/her to support this and to participate in the parliamentary debate. A sample template letter (if you wish to use it) is here. A similar text can be applied to also send a letter to your local MEP. 

Staying in touch 

Events are moving quickly and the situation in Ukraine is very fluid. Please visit AUGB’s website / Facebook / Twitter for the latest information. 

There is also a dedicated e-mail address: euromaidan@augb.co.uk which can be used to pass on information and ask questions, which will also be used by members of the Working Group to disseminate information. 

If anyone wishes to become more closely involved with the Euromaidan Working Group, then please contact them at the e-mail address above.


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