Ukraine Opposition Protest

Thirty thousand people hit the streets in Kiev's Independence Square in Ukraine on Sunday to protest the country's leadership.

The protesters are calling for constitutional reform to limit President Viktor Yanukovych's power.

The rallies started in November after the president agreed to a bailout from Russia rather than join the European Union.  The demonstrations have gotten violent because of clashes with police.

“For people who live here it's really rather worrisome and troubling.  They can't really predict what the future is going to be like for them,” said URI professor Nicolai Petro.

URI Political Science Professor Nicolai Petro is currently studying in Ukraine.  He says even if the political issues are addressed more need to be done.

“Mainly, that there are two cultural identities that need to learn to respect each other. One is Russian and one Ukraine,” said Petro.

Members of the St. Michael's Ukrainian Orthodox Parish and St Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Catholic Church, both located in Woonsocket, are praying for their loved ones overseas.

“Even though we are born here we follow the events in Ukraine, we have and we always felt very much Ukrainian,” said Debora Sirko-Osadsa.

Sirko-Osadsa is a member of the Ukraine Orthodox Church.  Her husband Cornel Osadsa is a member of the separate Ukraine Catholic Church.

“I think everyone I know has at least three different news websites book marked on their browsers so they can go from one to another,” said Cornel Osadsa.

The couple has friends and distant relatives still in the country and are worried for the protesters.

“You don't know when you'll wake up in the morning and see that Yanukovych has said Army move in,” said Cornel.

(C) WLNE-TV 2014