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Thousands Rally In Kyiv Demanding New Customs Regulations For Imported Cars

Some of the protesters blocked traffic in central Kyiv on July 11.
Some of the protesters blocked traffic in central Kyiv on July 11.

KYIV -- Ukrainian owners of some 4,500 foreign-registered cars staged a rally in downtown Kyiv on July 11, demanding new customs regulations to reduce the costs of re-registering their vehicles in Ukraine.

Many of the protesters blocked the traffic from Kyiv's central Square of Glory to the buildings housing the parliament and the government, on July 11.

According to data published by Ukraine's State Fiscal Service, more than 170,000 foreign-registered, mostly second-hand, cars were brought into the country last year.

The protesters held Ukrainian national flags and posters saying "Affordable customs fees for every Ukrainian," and "Why should we pay more when roads are ruined?"

Oleh Yaroshevych, the head of AvtoEvroSila, an organization that groups Ukrainians who bought second-hand cars abroad, said that the protests will continue until their demands are met.

Yaroshevych said authorities must reduce import taxes for foreign-bought vehicles and abolish hefty fines for those who refuse to re-register such vehicles in Ukraine.

Nina Yuzhanina, the head of Ukraine's parliamentary committee for taxation and customs policies, told RFE/RL that the protesters' demands will be discussed and most likely approved either this week or next week.

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