World

Thousands in Ukrainian capital protest president's decision to ditch pact with the EU

  • A demonstrator holds a torn portrait of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and shouts "Coward!" during a rally in support of Ukraine's integration with the European Union in the center of Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Nov. 29, 2013. Yanukovych said last week that he wouldn't sign the pact at an EU summit on Friday in Vilnius, Lithuania. The European Union extended its geopolitical reach eastward on Friday by sealing association agreements with Georgia and Moldova, but blamed Russia for missing out on a landmark deal with Ukraine. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    A demonstrator holds a torn portrait of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and shouts "Coward!" during a rally in support of Ukraine's integration with the European Union in the center of Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Nov. 29, 2013. Yanukovych said last week that he wouldn't sign the pact at an EU summit on Friday in Vilnius, Lithuania. The European Union extended its geopolitical reach eastward on Friday by sealing association agreements with Georgia and Moldova, but blamed Russia for missing out on a landmark deal with Ukraine. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)  (The Associated Press)

  • Demonstrators shout during a rally in support of Ukraine's integration with the European Union in the center of Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Nov. 29, 2013. The European Union extended its geopolitical reach eastward on Friday by sealing association agreements with Georgia and Moldova, but blamed Russia for missing out on a landmark deal with Ukraine. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    Demonstrators shout during a rally in support of Ukraine's integration with the European Union in the center of Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Nov. 29, 2013. The European Union extended its geopolitical reach eastward on Friday by sealing association agreements with Georgia and Moldova, but blamed Russia for missing out on a landmark deal with Ukraine. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)  (The Associated Press)

  • Demonstrators hold torn portraits of Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych and shout "Coward!" during a rally in support of Ukraine's integration with the European Union in the center of Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Nov. 29, 2013. The European Union extended its geopolitical reach eastward on Friday by sealing association agreements with Georgia and Moldova, but blamed Russia for missing out on a landmark deal with Ukraine. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

    Demonstrators hold torn portraits of Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych and shout "Coward!" during a rally in support of Ukraine's integration with the European Union in the center of Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Nov. 29, 2013. The European Union extended its geopolitical reach eastward on Friday by sealing association agreements with Georgia and Moldova, but blamed Russia for missing out on a landmark deal with Ukraine. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)  (The Associated Press)

Thousands of demonstrators are gathering in Ukraine's capital after a deal that could have brought closer ties to the EU was shelved.

Protesters are calling for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych, who ditched the free trade pact with the EU at Friday's summit in favor of closer ties with Russia.

Yanukovych abruptly changed the course for integration with the EU, drawing massive anger in Ukraine, where nearly half of the population favors closer ties with the EU. He says Ukraine can't afford to sacrifice trade with Russia for closer ties to the EU.

The protests in Kiev revived memories of the 2004 Orange Revolution which overturned Yanukovych's fraud-tainted victory in a presidential vote and brought a pro-Western president to power. Yanukovych claimed presidency in a 2010 vote.