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Ukrainians mark 6th anniversary of mass protests

About 5,000 people have gathered on the central square of the Ukrainian capital to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the beginning of protests that led to the president fleeing the country.

Many of those who gathered Thursday night expressed frustration that the protests did not cleanse Ukraine of endemic corruption that was a catalyst for the demonstrations.

Teacher Tatiana Borisyuk lamented that the protests “changed the history of our country but hardly changed the system, which as before is based on the power of oligarchs and corruption.”

People rally to commemorate victims of clashes with security forces six years ago at the Independence Square in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. People mark the sixth anniversary of the beginning of the protest movement and the subsequent events in late Feb. 2014 which led to the departure of former Ukraine's President Victor Yanukovych and the formation of the new government. (AP PhotoEfrem Lukatsky)

The protests started after Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych backed out of a deal for closer relations with the European Union.

He fled three months later, after the protests turned bloody and more than 100 people died.

People pay their respects at a memorial dedicated to people died in clashes with security forces at the Independent Square (Maidan) in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019 to mark the sixth anniversary of the beginning of the protests. People gather to commemorate the Maidan protest movement and the events which took place in late Feb. 2014 that led to the departure of former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich and the formation of a new government. (AP PhotoEfrem Lukatsky)

People lay flowers to the memorial dedicated to people died in clashes with security forces at the Independent Square (Maidan) in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019 to mark the sixth anniversary of the beginning of the protests. People gather to commemorate the Maidan protest movement and the events which took place in late Feb. 2014 that led to the departure of former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich and the formation of a new government. (AP PhotoEfrem Lukatsky)

A woman pays her respect at a memorial dedicated to people died in clashes with security forces at the Independent Square (Maidan) in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019 to mark the sixth anniversary of the beginning of the protests. People gather to commemorate the Maidan protest movement and the events which took place in late Feb. 2014 that led to the departure of former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich and the formation of a new government. (AP PhotoEfrem Lukatsky)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, foreground left, and his wife Olena Zelenska hold candles as they walk to a memorial in Independent Square (Maidan) in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. The memorial is dedicated to people who died in clashes with security forces in 2013 during protests sparked by then President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision in November 2013 to freeze ties with the West and tilt toward Moscow. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)