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Election results prompt Ukrainian journalist's hunger strike

(IMI/IFEX) - 20 November 2012 - Victor Orel, a Ukrainian journalist from Dnipropetrovsk, went on hunger strike for 5 days, protesting against the falsification of parliamentary election results.

With this protest, he appealed to the USA and Europe to be more demanding of Ukrainian authorities.

Orel, 30 years old, began his hunger strike on 12 November, 2012, when the Central Election Commission announced the election results without taking into consideration numerous proofs of falsification by observers.

The journalist was further provoked to go on hunger strike after being arrested at an opposition protest meeting against such actions.

"I was indignant...that a peaceful action was dispersed by force and that a journalist, without any reason, was handcuffed and taken to the police office. One more reason for my decision to go on hunger strike was a desire to support Yulia Tymoshenko, a leader of the opposition, who was also starving."

With the hunger strike, Orel aims to overcome apathy in society and draw public attention to the falsification of election results.

"I have chosen such an action to make people think about what to do next, because in our everyday run for bread we forget that our life is not only about material things, but it is also about higher ideals, such as freedom, spirit and, all in all, an independent state."

Among the proofs of falsification during elections, Orel cites a substantial difference (over 10%) in favour of the pro-governmental party, in contrast to exit poll results.

"According to our research, the Batkivshchyna Party had 27%, the Communist Party had 22%, the Party of Regions had 14%; the Udar Party had 11% and the Svoboda Party had 5%. All of these results coincided with the official data within a statistical error. Only the Party of Regions turned out to have 12% more..."

Despite the fact that authorities have, in no way, reacted to the journalist's hunger strike, Orel thinks that this action has not passed in vein.

"It was an appeal to the conscience of not only Ukrainian society, but to the Western world as well. We had to show the European community our attitude toward falsification. The European community should be more demanding and strict with the Ukrainian Government, because Ukrainian society is powerless anyway...Europe and the USA should support the attempts of Ukrainians to live in a democratic country, because our young democracy can not manage without their support."

Orel says that, during his hunger strike, he saw the readiness of many Ukrainians to unite in order to fight against illegal actions that, according to the journalist, are done by authorities.

"This support inspired me and I felt that I partially completed my mission; society paid attention to this problem."

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