Anti-government protesters have toppled a statue of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin in Ukraine’s capital and attacked it with hammers, in a symbolic challenge to president Viktor Yanukovich and his plans for closer ties with Russia.
The gesture rejecting Moscow’s historic influence over Ukraine came after opposition leaders told hundreds of thousands of demonstrators on Kiev’s Independence Square to keep up pressure on Mr Yanukovich to sack his government.
The protesters are furious that the government decided last month to ditch a landmark pact with the European Union in favour of closer economic cooperation with Moscow, Ukraine’s Soviet-era overlord.
Mr Yanukovich’s sudden tack towards Russia has provoked the biggest street protests since the 2004-5 Orange Revolution, when people power forced a re-run of a fraud-tainted election and thwarted his first run for the presidency.
“Yanukovich, you are next!” chanted protesters as they took turns to hack at the prostrate…
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