Tens of thousands of Ukrainians are rallying in the center of Kiev, in defiance of recent legislation that significantly curbs their rights to protest.

Last week President Viktor Yanukovych caused an uproar at home and abroad when he approved a number of laws that limit Ukrainians' rights to protest, civic activism and free speech. The U.S. called that legislation "undemocratic."

The move was aimed at quashing the protests calling for his ouster, which have rocked Kiev and other cities in Ukraine for nearly two months. The protests were sparked by Yanukvoych's decision to freeze ties with the European Union and embrace Russia instead. They were intensified by police violence.

Opposition as well as civic and religious leaders exhorted Ukrainians on Sunday to keep up the protest and fight for democracy.