Amid unrest abroad, local Ukrainian community rallies together

NORTH PHILADELPHIA - January 26, 2014

They peacefully sang their country's anthems in North Philadelphia on Sunday night.

At the same time, in their homeland of Ukraine, deadly protests continued to escalate against the country's government.

"I hope people can achieve their dreams of democracy," said George Horobetz.

"What's going on is worse than the communists," said Eugene Brenycz.

The protests began in November when the Ukrainian president refused to sign a trade agreement with the European Union in favor of stronger economic ties with Russia.

On Sunday afternoon, members of the Philadelphia Ukrainian community began a caravan from Jenkintown and through Philadelphia.

They waved their flags, shower their colors and got support from natives of neighboring countries.

Their message was clear, they want the dictatorship in their country to stop.

"Make sure everyone is aware of what's happening in the country and do whatever we can to raise support here whether it's financial or informing the right politicians to make movements happen," said Taisa Hewka.

The caravan ended at a Ukrainian Catholic church in North Philadelphia. Many don't know how else to help but to pray.

An early evening mass brought everyone inside for prayer.

"You think about the people freezing outside for three weeks and us just to take a ride over here to come out to pray is very important," said one parishioner.

Parishioners traded stories about what family and friends on the front lines are reporting back and it didn't give much comfort.

"My husband's parents, sisters, brothers, everybody - they're so scared," said Mariya Loda.

However the solidarity in Philadelphia did give some relief to those waiting for the unrest to end.

"Ukraine we are with you, it means we are with you through everything, all the way," said Yuliya Loda.

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