(Prague/Washington--November 23, 2004) Former Czech President Vaclav Havel sent the people of Ukraine a message of solidarity today, as the streets of the capitol, Kyiv, filled with protestors angry with the alleged manipulation of election results that currently have Prime Minister Victor Yanukovych winning the Ukrainian presidency over his opposition rival, Victor Yushchenko.
The message, received by RFE/RL at its Prague broadcast center at 1700 Central European time (11:00 EDT) for broadcast to Ukraine by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service and by the Czech Embassy in Kyiv to be read to pro-Yushchenko demonstrators, was also sent to the Czech news agency CTK.
The following is an English translation (originally in Czech) of the message, sent from Taiwan where Havel is currently on a visit to Asia [translation: Magda Sebestova, RFE/RL]:
"Taipei, November 23, 2004
Allow me to greet you in these dramatic days when the destiny of your country is being decided for decades ahead. You have its future in your hands. All trustworthy organizations, both local and international, agree that your demands are just. That is why I wish you strength, perseverance, courage and good fortune with your decisions.
RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service broadcasts nearly 7 hours of programming a day Monday through Friday, and 3 hours every Saturday and Sunday, with programs produced in Prague and the service's Kyiv Bureau and transmitted to listeners via shortwave, satellite and AM and FM signals provided by local affiliate stations in Ukraine. Ukrainian Service programming is also available via the Internet, at the service's website www.radiosvoboda.org and at www.rferl.org.