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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 November, 2004, 19:44 GMT
Ukraine protests: Eyewitness
Demonstrators protest at the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev
Thousands of opposition supporters have continued to protest across the Ukraine against the disputed presidential election results.

One protester, Pastor Igor Nakonechny, told the BBC News website about his experiences over the past three days demonstrating on the streets of Kiev.

It has happened. Our dreams are coming true.

The freedom that has been slowly slipping away is coming back fully and not in any small measure.

People have chosen Viktor Yushchenko as our new president.

For the third day in a row there have been demonstrations in support of Yushchenko in many cities across the Ukraine because we believe the election results were rigged.

I attended the most important gathering in Kiev with hundreds of thousands of people on the central Maydan Nezalezhnosti [Independence Square].

If freedom has a colour, it's orange for Ukrainians, as it's the colour of Yushchenko's campaign.

Pastor Igor Nakonechny
Every time I leave my home to go to the protests I am a little fearful
Orange ribbons have been wrapped on car antennas, on people's arms and heads, on trees and pillars. Orange flags and posters are visible everywhere. People are all wearing orange clothes.

When I'm walking on the street it gives me a feeling of unity with people that I have never even met.

During the day on the central street in Kiev and even late at night I see not just students or other young people but elderly people and couples - some with children - in the crowd.

Most of the time they are all smiling. At times they are shouting and chanting: "We are together, we are many, and we can't be defeated!", "Yush-chen-ko!", and "Freedom can't be stopped!"

Voices of many

I am there with people on the street because I love freedom. I love that God given gift that every government in the world should recognise.

When I kiss my wife and daughter before I open the door I know this is all happening for me and for them
To those who support him, Yushchenko means democracy, Europe, freedom, a hope of a better economic situation and above all honesty, accountability, sacredness of family and Christian values.

His rival Viktor Yanukovych, for those people out protesting, is a threat to all of that.

Every time I leave my home to go to the protests I am a little fearful.

But when I kiss my wife and my five month old daughter before I open the door I know this is all happening for me and for them.

My one voice is very important. As are the voices of many fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, daughters, and sons.

People are constantly calling us from all around the country asking how it is going, stating their support.

My brother, my cousin and their friend - a pharmacist, a dentist and a heart surgeon - are all coming to Kiev tonight from Lviv, as are hundreds of thousands of others from all over Ukraine, to stand for freedom peacefully with a smile and a brave heart being their only weapons.

We believe in our victory!

Send us your reaction to this piece using the form below. Have you also been protesting? What is your opinion on current developments in Ukraine? If you have any pictures of the protests send them to yourpics@bbc.co.uk.

I remember well, times when I studied at Leeds University between 1996 and 1997. I used to hear some British people say my country was corrupt and the reputation of my country-men abroad was also bad. These events in Ukraine will materially improve Ukraine's reputation worldwide. There are many educated, sober-minded, enthusiastic people there on barricades today; it is not a drunk crowd as someone might think. Please mind that and try to think about our country in a different way! I am rejoiced to see Ukraine a subject of all breaking news in the whole world today!
Irina, Odessa, Ukraine

I guess Russia is the biggest malice for Ukraine. And now is the most suitable time to make our country free and democratic. I am the student of the National University. All my colleagues and I are participators. We are struggling for our future. We refuse to have classes now! Our parents, who are living outside Kiev, have problems now, because they were at the voter commission, where the head was paid $1,000 in order to falsify the result. My parents and other people were completely against. They were threatened! I do not want to live in such a country! Help us!
Lesya, Kiev, Ukraine

I am a citizen of Ukraine. I want my children to live in a democratic country. This president's election is showing that our government is tempering. And if even government is tempering what can we do in this country. As one people said the people in Khreschatyk are not for Yushchenko, they are against Yanukovych.
Svetlana, Kyiv, Ukraine

I am very afraid that the honest, wise and sincere people who went to the streets with orange ribbons will be killed
Alyona, Kiev, Ukraine

I am in the office now. It is empty. All the people went to Independence Square to support Yushchenko. Some people say that the supporters were paid to shout Yu-shchen-ko! It is not true. Our chief director has stood there for three days already. He is ill and has a high temperature, but he doesn't want to leave. People decorate the police shields with flowers.

There are a lot of children, students and elderly people. It is the meeting of joy and peace. My mother-in-law, who cannot go there because of her health, laughs and claps her hands when she watches TV. She watches the 5 canal only (the authority is going to close it, so that people cannot learn the truth. Yesterday her friend called from St Petersburg, Russia. She didn't know that Yanukovych was twice in prison: for robbery and for maiming.

Besides, he had to go to prison for rape (the girl took back her declaration) and for pilferage. People in Russia are fooled as they do not have all the information. So are the people in regions who support Yanukovych. They are ignorant about his background. My mother-in-law's friend was very surprised, but then the connection stopped suddenly. I am very afraid that the honest, wise and sincere people who went to the streets with orange ribbons will be killed.
Alyona, Kiev, Ukraine

I would like to thank international community for its support and attention. Without you we would be on our own. Keep on pressing on the current regime. My heart is happy to see how our country is changing for the better. Kyiv is orange, demonstrations in support of Yushchenko are all over Ukraine - people do not want to live with oligarchs and want to live in accordance with democratic values. You cannot stop freedom!
Sergiy Sklyarenko, Kyiv, Ukraine

I've just returned from the streets. It's snowing heavily, but thousands of people are out there waving our national blue and yellow flags, orange ribbons, scarves and flags. There is no official gathering now, but we are going round the city, particularly in the centre in Freedom avenue, shouting out "We are together, there are a lot of us, you cannot overcome us", "Yushchenko is our president".
Nataliya Kitsera, Lviv, Ukraine

Expressing your choice, your opinion, being heard and respected, - those are basic human rights. At least it is so in a truly democratic society, that Ukraine is struggling to be. So it is only natural that people are protesting all over the country, and defending the choice they've made. It feels great to be part of it. Am so proud of us that for the first time ever in modern Ukrainian history, awareness of a nation reached has such a high level. The atmosphere on the streets in Kiev is fantastic, and there's no disturbance, panic or fights. Kiev city administration is doing a great job. We do appreciate all the support of the international community. And we need more of that - the way things are going, existing power is not going to give up easily. Stay with us.
Natasha Nagorna, Kiev, Ukraine

This brings tears to my eyes remembering protests in Romania in 1990. The peaceful protests were led by students in the University Square in Bucharest, but were crushed when the 'newly-elected' government ferried in a large number of miners to disperse the protesters. Students or non-students, many protesters were beaten up savagely, some were even killed. I heard on the news here in the States that Yanukovych is bringing in the miners to defend the official election results - I hope it is just a rumour. My thoughts are with the freedom-loving Ukrainian people.
Raluca, Orlando, FL, USA

I am a citizen of the United States of Ukrainian descent. I have been taught the Ukrainian language, culture, history and politics since I was old enough to speak. What is happening in Ukraine is quite monumental. I fear for the Ukrainian people should they decide that the elections will not be investigated further and that Yanukovych is the rightful winner. He is not. If Yanukovych wins, Ukraine's fate will again be in the hands of Russia and those who are ready to go back to the Communist way of doing business. Ukraine needs to be rid of this government in order to flourish and reach its democratic potential.
Andrea, New York, USA

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