Thousands of demonstrators dressed in orange gather in Kiev’s Independence Square to protest apparent corruption, voter intimidation and fraud in the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election after the country’s election commission declares victory for pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovych. Many of the protestors are from the country’s growing middle class and its emerging political opposition, led by opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko and politician and businesswoman Yulia Tymoshenko. Yushchenko after a meeting with the electoral commission to discuss the unexpected election result:
We do not trust the accountability of the Central Election Commission. We call on our supporters to come on to Maidan of Independence and protect their freedom
The Socialist Party of Ukraine and Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Ukraine are also represented, along with the student organization Pora, with around 100-150,000 people eventually gathering in the square despite freezing weather and armored vehicles (BTRs) and spetznatz special forces troops relocated from the presidential palace and electoral commission. They chant:
Together, we are many! We cannot be defeated!
By evening, a tent city is set up and being defended against security forces, with the protestors planning to stay in the square until their goal of a are achieved of a fair election result.