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Canadians rally in support of anti-government protesters in Ukraine

A woman holds a sign protesting Ukraine's possible deal with Russia over the European Union during a protest in Toronto, Dec. 8, 2013. CITYNEWS

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Toronto office of the Consulate General of Sunday afternoon to show support for the thousands of anti-government protesters in Kiev.

Protesters are calling for Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovich to resign and for new elections, which the government has refused to do.

This is the third rally held by the Canadian Ukrainian Congress since protests began in Ukraine last month.

“What they’re trying to accomplish, frankly, is a better future for themselves,” explained Canadian Ukrainian Congress president Paul Grod. “They’re standing up to the oppression and they’re standing up to the backsliding of human rights and democracy in Ukraine”

Protestors in Kiev accused Yanukovich of planning a deal with Russia’s Vladimir Putin that would end their hopes of integration into the European Union.

Although presidential sources in Moscow and Kiev have both denied a deal’s been done, the protestors stayed on the streets and continued their blockade of government buildings.

Grod said rallies were also taking place Sunday in Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Calgary, Saskatoon and Regina.

“This is an opportunity for us to show the people of Ukraine that we as Canadians support them and support what they’re trying to accomplish,” he said. “The people of Ukraine would love to implement Canadian values in their country and that’s why it’s very important for us to support people around the world in their struggle for human rights.”

The Canadian Ukrainian Congress is also calling for legal action against police who they say brutally attacked peaceful protesters in Kiev and that all jailed student protesters be released.

With files from Reuters