2nd Ld Writethru: protest continues in Ukraine as gov't investigates attempts to seize power

2nd Ld Writethru: protest continues in Ukraine as gov't investigates attempts to seize power

KIEV, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Ukrainian Security Service said Sunday it had been investigating opposition leaders suspected of attempting to seize power amid the anti-government protests that have gripped the country since late last month.

The anti-government rally in Kiev, the national capital of Ukraine, was attended by hundreds of thousands of people Sunday, with a group of anti-government protesters toppling the statue of Vladimir Lenin in Kiev to vent their anger toward their government 's decision to seek closer economic ties with Russia instead of with the European Union (EU). Video footage aired on local websites showed that activists from the Svoboda (Liberty) Party first pulled the statue off its pedestal with tools such as hammers and ropes, then started to chant their national anthem.

"On December 8, the register of pre-trial investigations was supplemented with data related to illegal actions committed by certain politicians to seize state power." said the Ukrainian Security Service in a statement. It did not name the politicians. They will be will face a prison term ranging from five to ten years if convicted.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk, leader of the opposition Batkivshchina ( Fatherland) Party, said Sunday at the so-called "People's Veche ( assembly)" on the Independence Square that the government was considering to introduce a state of emergency in Ukraine and insisted more efforts should be done to continue the protests, including blocking one more governmental building each day until the government "makes concrete steps to meet our demands," according to the Interfax news agency.

Thousands of pro-government citizens organized by the ruling Party of Regions also rallied around the Constitution Square near the parliament building.

Police have cordoned off the two rallies, and no clashes have been reported between the two groups of protesters.