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Politics

Published on December 3rd, 2013 | by Flipside

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Edinburgh student protest spreads to the Ukraine

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Kiev this week in a show of solidarity with Edinburgh students over university staff pay. Students at Edinburgh University occupying the Finance Director’s Office were joined today by 50,000 Ukrainians more than 1800 miles away demanding real term increases in Edinburgh staff pay.

In a country where the president recently purchased a 340 acre property valued at £50 million, Timothy O’Shea’s measly salary of £227,000, which has not increased since 2009, is seen by many as an abhorrent disregard to his position of privilege and power. Reports that President Viktor Yanukovyvh’s winter garden wall paneling cost as much as the annual pay of Edinburgh University’s principal finally pushed people in Ukraine to take a stand with protesters refusing to leave until Edinburgh student’s demands are met and O’Shea receives a pay rise.

Due to the unprecedented response from Western Ukraine, where support for EUSA is strongest, the number of individuals involved has now reached 50,040. Protesters in Kiev’s iconic Independence Square were seen waving EU flags and chanting Kirsty Haigh’s name long through the night. It would appear she has become the popular opposition figurehead for the movement, replacing Yulia Tymoshenko who many believed too closely resembled Princess Leia to be taken seriously. It is still unclear as to why the protesters were waving the EU flag, but many believe this is simply down to the NUS failing to produce a flag of their own.

Amid reports that dozens have been injured by the heavy handed police response in Kiev, Hugh Murdoch has promised “to ensure the welfare of students involved” at Edinburgh University. It is still unknown whether Hugh Murdoch’s pledge to provide tea and biscuits extends to those in Ukraine.

It was earlier thought that the Edinburgh student occupation had extended as far as South East Asia with reports of protesters taking to the streets of Bangkok, but it has since been confirmed that they have more important concerns of their own.

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