KIEV -- Supporters of opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko took the so-called Orange Revolution on the road yesterday, piling into cars and buses for a 10-day odyssey to spread their message beyond the capital, targeting eastern provinces largely hostile to their candidate.
With sirens blaring and trademark orange flags unfurled, more than 150 opposition supporters left Kiev, hoping to win over voters in areas where support for Yushchenko's opponent, Viktor Yanukovych, has been strong.
The two face off in a Dec. 26 rematch following a Supreme Court ruling that annulled a fraud-tainted Nov. 21 runoff in which Yanukovych claimed victory.
''We would like the spirit of civil resistance to reach everyone's heart," said Vasyl Kuderiavets, a 34-year-old businessman from the western city of Lviv. Compelled by Yushchenko's appeal to abandon protests and take up the election campaign, artists, musicians, businessmen, and filmmakers set off on a journey many said was necessary because the state-run media had blocked news of their movement from reaching the rest of this former Soviet republic.
They plan to show videos of the protests from Kiev's Independence Square, to organize rallies, and to leave graffiti on every gray wall they find. ''In some Ukrainian regions, people live as if they were in ghettos, isolated from information on what is actually going on in the country -- living totally like in Soviet times," said Vakhtang Kipiani, the anchor of a private television station.
The trip underscored concerns by the Yushchenko campaign about reaching Ukraine's eastern, mainly Russian-speaking parts, which heard little about the tumultuous weeks of protests that preceded the high court ruling.