Demonstrators show support for Ukrainians at downtown rally

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The country of Ukraine is erupting in violence after protesters and police clashed in the capital Kiev.

Citizens took to the streets months ago to express outrage at a failed trade agreement with the European Union. The agreement could have generated economic growth for the country, but President Yanukovych denied the deal after being pressured by Russia with trade sanctions if followed through.

The protests have recently gotten bloodier, with dozens reported dead and hundreds injured. As the world watches the violence from afar, simultaneous protests in Ohio were staged in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

Groups called 'Ohio Citizens for a Democratic and Free Ukraine' gathered Saturday in Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Cleveland and Toledo. Their purpose was to bring attention to the human rights violations in Ukraine, according to group officials.

Ralliers, including local Ukrainian Americans, demonstrated outside of the Federal Building in downtown Cincinnati Saturday afternoon. They were calling for action from the United States Congress to intervene in the violence and demand the resignation of the President, according to the organizer Natalya Schaller.

"Too many families and citizens of the Ukraine are being tortured and maimed for exercising their democratic and constitutional rights of free speck opposing Russian interference in a free, open and democratic country," said Schaller.

On Saturday, President Yanukovych fled the country and was stripped of his powers by parliament. The White House released a statement saying the ousting of the President could move the country in the right direction, and that they intend to work with Russia to support a strong democratic Ukraine.

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