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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 November, 2004, 17:36 GMT
Frustration for Ukraine's opposition
By Stephen Mulvey
BBC News, Kiev

Tuesday was a frustrating day for the massed supporters of the Ukrainian opposition.

A man enters Ukraine's parliament as opposition supporters try to enter the parliament building in Kiev
Protesters chanted and shouted at the doors of parliament
There was no sign of a decision from the Supreme Court on whether or not to overturn the Central Election Commission's declaration of victory for Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych in the presidential election.

And a parliamentary vote calling for the dismissal of the government gathered too few votes to pass.

Furthermore, moves were made in parliament to overturn a resolution passed by deputies on Saturday, which declared the second round of the election invalid.

When, after this, the session was brought to a premature end, the orange-clad crowd outside became noisy and restive.

A number then burst into the parliamentary precincts, as their favoured candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, came out to address them.

Guards hurried to contain the intruders and the doors of the parliament were locked, temporarily trapping anyone who was inside.

An angry-looking Mr Yushchenko called on the crowd to renew a full blockade of government buildings - just hours after staff of the Cabinet of Ministers had been allowed into work for the first time in more than a week.

Despite the frustrations, the scene outside the parliament building was not an ugly one
He also promised that the parliament would vote in favour of sacking the government on Wednesday.

Straight after him, the chairman of parliament, Volodymyr Lytvyn, came to the podium and pleaded with the demonstrators not to storm parliament.

"The parliament is the only state institution that is still working," he said, promising that the controversial resolution aimed at overturning Saturday's declaration, would not be debated, let alone approved.

One reason for this, he said, was the need to avoid influencing the ongoing hearings in the Supreme Court.

People power

Third on the tribune was one of the main organisers of the demonstrations, Socialist deputy Yuri Lutsenko.

"You prevented a coup against the state!" he roared at the crowd - meaning that the pressure they had applied on the parliament by their presence, had prevented the resolution getting any further than being accepted as a subject for debate.

A police shield is decorated with the opposition's trademark orange in front of a police cordon
Opposition supporters are keeping up their protest
He explained that the opposition had made the mistake of relying on the Communists, who voted with the opposition to declare the election result invalid on Saturday, but changed sides on Tuesday to vote with supporters of President Leonid Kuchma.

Having gained some ground inside the restricted area around the parliament, the protesters were reluctant to relinquish it.

They surrounded one of the large oak doors leading into the building and stood outside it shouting, chanting and punching the air with their fists.

But despite their frustration, the scene was not an ugly one.

One middle-aged woman in a green coat and green fur hat, kissed a young policeman.

And the police took no action to stop a group of demonstrators taking up position with oil drums, which they beat rhythmically with sticks.

Mr Yushchenko was able to take his time accepting the adulation of his supporters, signing signatures as he made his way back into the parliament building, on scraps of paper held out to him, on a flag and even on one person's passport.

Despite a serious setback for his attempts to check-mate his rival on Tuesday, people power once again came to his aid and left him with something closer to a draw than a loss.

Wednesday's session of parliament could still provide him with a win.


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