Ukraine PM: Attack on Lenin Equals Taliban's Destruction of Buddhas
Ukraine's Prime Minister Mykola Azarov compared the toppling of the statue to the Taliban's destruction of the giant Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan in 2001, Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported.
"War on monuments is always barbarity," he said.
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Sunday evening seeking the resignation of the government for refusing a deal on closer ties with the European Union.
Protesters, who oppose a customs union with Russia, toppled a statue of Lenin and smashed it with hammers.
Others stood by chanting "glory to Ukraine".
One opposition MP, Andriy Shevchenko, tweeted: "Goodbye, Communist legacy!"
The opposition party of jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has urged people to "chase" the president "until he falls".
"We are on a razor's edge between a final plunge into cruel dictatorship and a return home to the European community," Tymoshenko said in a message to the crowd read out by her daughter.
"Don't give in, not a step back, don't give up, the future of Ukraine is in your hands," the message read.
Another opposition leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, said: "It's not just a simple revolution. It's a revolution of dignity."
Opposition MP Serhiy Pashynskyy said that "starting from today and until our demands are met, the government quarter will be blocked with protest rallies".
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Comparison of the statues of Buddahs is hardly the comparison of an educated man. To Islamic extremists and statue is an idol and according to their twisted book has to be destroyed. Lenin was the leader of an oppressive government and the people did not have any freedom of choice.