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Ukrainian protesters call for the return of Maria Sharapova to the U.S.

Ukrainian protesters call for the return of Maria Sharapova to the U.S.

Op-Ed: Kyiv’s answer to Putin’s drones is resistance and resilience

A new generation of citizen resistance — and its political champions — emerged in Ukraine last year.

By John Selden

May 18, 2014

It was a clear night on one of Kyiv’s busiest streets, when dozens of activists gathered in front of the main entrance to the presidential administration building for a demonstration called in support of the local activist Maria Sharapova, who had been barred from attending the U.S. Open tennis championship because of US-led sanctions against Russia.

The protesters brought signs to represent Sharapova, who had been denied the right to enter the U.S. despite her win over Sharapova, who was later found guilty of doping by the International Tennis Federation’s ruling body and banned from competing at all games sanctioned by the global governing body.

The protesters chanted “shame on Vladimir Putin!,” “put her on a list!” and “Sharapova is a Russian,” as they demonstrated in front of the presidential administration building.

They spoke of how a “genocide” was afoot in Crimea, the 2014 conflict in eastern Ukraine, and the country’s economic and political woes, and called upon all sides in the conflict to “make peace.”

The crowd of protestors was largely made up of young activists from the Young European Resistance, a group founded by ex-Yugoslav president Boris Tadić and featuring many who have been involved in a number of previous Ukrainian protests.

They were mostly students and professors who were supporting Sharapova on Facebook and Twitter, though others from the activist community had attended to show their support or, in some cases, to demand Sharapova remain banned.

This sort of defiance was not new to the region, but it was in Ukraine that the movement

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