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Philadelphia Ukrainians Show Support For Homeland Protests

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Violence in Ukraine is spurring a call for action from the local Ukrainian-American community.

Today, about 20 people braved the cold and damp on Independence Mall, holding signs criticizing the Ukrainian government, chanting “stop the bloodshed,” and supporting protesters who have faced a violent backlash from the government over their demand for a closer alliance with Europe and more distance from Russia (see related story).

“Hundreds of thousands of people are standing out. They’re not afraid of the bullets, they’re not afraid of the tanks. Should we be afraid of rain and snow?” asked  Ulana Mazurkevich.

She was one of the first to arrive today, and was moved when members of the Polish-American community showed up in solidarity.

“Thank you,” she told them.  “It’s wonderful that we can stand together, Ukrainians and Poles.”

“We’re a global people and a global economy,” responded Michael Blichasz.   “We have to help one another or nothing will be accomplished.”

The protesters hope the US government will help, too.

“America is the beacon of liberty,” said  Mazurkevich.  “When America shines its light onto a country, others listen.  And Ukraine is looking to America to shine that light of freedom upon it.”

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