Ukrainian Opposition to Stage New Year’s Party to Fuel Protests

Ukraine’s opposition is inviting people to a New Year’s Eve party that will feature local rock bands and U.K. guitarist Neil Taylor in an effort to revive its flagging protest movement.

Organizers want to set the Guinness world record for the biggest crowd singing a national anthem simultaneously on Kiev’s Independence Square, or Maidan, the site of anti-government demonstrations since Nov. 21. The current record is held by the Indian company Sahara India Pariwar, which had 121,653 uniform-clad people sing the country’s anthem on May 6.

“Let’s celebrate the new year at Maidan, let’s celebrate together,” Oles Doniy, an opposition lawmaker in charge said in a televised news conference yesterday. “It will be very interesting and we will have a lot of fun.”

Protesters have occupied the square since President Viktor Yanukovych backed out of a trade deal with the European Union in favor of a $15 billion bailout and a gas-price cut from Russia. As authorities ignore demands for snap elections and the government’s dismissal, the opposition aims to keep a protest camp going before a presidential vote in March 2015.

The number of demonstrators has been dwindling since a police crackdown led half a million people to the square early this month. Rallies every Sunday have attracted fewer people closer to the holiday season that lasts through Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 7.

Christmas Play

Performances are set to start at 9:30 p.m. today with a traditional Christmas play to be performed by politicians, activists, journalists and musicians.

The New Year celebration will include non-alcoholic champagne and food. Ruslana, the Ukrainian singer who won the Eurovision song contest in 2004 and spent most nights leading rallies from the stage on Independence Square since November, will be among performers. She will also orchestrate the national anthem performance, for which Guinness World Records representatives have been invited.

Almost 12,000 policemen will secure public order on New Year’s Eve across Ukraine, according to a statement on the government’s website. Police in Kiev will work “on higher alert” the Interior Ministry said.

Ukraine’s Hromadske TV will broadcast an alternative to Yanukovych’s annual televised address, showing recorded statements aimed at the president from the people of Ukraine five minutes to midnight.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kateryna Choursina in Kiev at; Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at; Balazs Penz at

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