VIENNA, Austria – Swept up in a sea of orange, the color of Ukraine's (search) embattled opposition, Maryana Yarmolenko did what thousands of people from her homeland have been doing for days across Europe — she marched to demand democracy.
"It's a historical moment for our country, and people want to be a part of it," Yarmolenko, a 23-year-old law student, said Sunday as several hundred Ukrainians waved flags and chanted anti-Kremlin slogans during a rally in downtown Vienna, their fifth here in less than a week.
"This is going on all over Europe — in Austria, in Italy, in England — everywhere," she said.
From Paris to Prague, Ukrainians living around Europe are pulling together to stage small but spirited protests demanding a quick and peaceful resolution to the former Soviet republic's political crisis.
Rich and poor, jobless and employed, they're united by the standoff and determined to do whatever they can to help.
For Viktor Kryshevich, a Ukrainian-born computer expert, that meant helping to raise cash for supporters of Western-leaning opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, who contends Russia-backed Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych (search) stole the Nov. 21 presidential election.
Kryshevich and others in Vienna's modest 2,000-member Ukrainian community said they scraped together $3,250 for the Yushchenko supporters who have been camping out in tents on Kiev's Independence Square in protest.
"In Kiev, people are wet and cold, in snow up to their waists, because of what they believe in. The least we can do is stand with them," he said.
"It's a matter of principle. People back in Ukraine will see, hear and feel our support. We won't stop our actions abroad as long as our countrymen are protesting at home."
In Rome on Sunday, Pope John Paul II (search) — a fellow Slav — said during his weekly address that his thoughts were with the Ukrainians present at St. Peter's Square. "I assure them of my prayers for peace in their country," the pope said.
Ukrainians living in Poland, John Paul's homeland, have staged several concerts and rallies in a show of solidarity for Yushchenko and those supporting him.
Braving cold and rainy weather, Polish rock and folk groups played Saturday night at a gathering in the southern city of Krakow that drew students from Poland and Ukraine as well as entire families waving orange ribbons and flags to express the nation's struggle for democracy.
In Warsaw, local residents moved by how Ukrainian expatriates and sympathetic Poles were stirred to action brought tea and tangerines to students maintaining a round-the-clock vigil outside the Russian Embassy.
About 300 demonstrators, many wearing orange scarves or carrying orange umbrellas and singing Ukraine's national anthem, rallied in London's Holland Park on Sunday in support of Yushchenko.
"I want a reelection for the people — not this false election," said Milla Smith, 49, a Ukrainian who lives in Rayleigh, east of London.
In Madrid, about 300 Ukrainians — members of Spain's estimated 5,000 immigrants from the Ukraine — rallied at a downtown square Sunday, chanting and waving flags and banners in support of Yushchenko.
In Prague, several hundred people protesting outside the Russian Embassy chanted what has become something of a mantra for the Ukrainian expatriate resistance movement: "We are many — they cannot break us!"
Saturday's symbolic declaration by Ukraine's parliament denouncing the election results as invalid raised the spirits of many Ukrainians. But others, like Oleksiy Pyrtko, were skeptical and vowed to keep the pressure on.
Pyrtko, 28, a self-described "economic refugee" from Ukraine who has lived in Austria for the past three years, pushed his infant son in a stroller Sunday as he marched from Vienna's famed Opera to the downtown St. Stephen's Cathedral.
"This is a make-or-break chance for democracy in Ukraine," Pyrtko said. "The people need to keep up the pressure. We're everywhere — all across Europe and in America — and we'll do whatever we can to help."