KIEV -- The winner of Ukraine's presidential election ordered his supporters yesterday to raze the tent camp in Kiev that had become a dramatic symbol of his victory over a Kremlin-backed opponent, saying conditions had become unsanitary.
But the camp's occupants vowed to stay until Viktor Yushchenko is inaugurated -- and when that might be is in doubt after his vanquished opponent, former prime minister Viktor Yanukovych, filed an elaborate appeal with the Supreme Court contesting the election results.
Yushchenko's order to his supporters showed his confidence the court will reject Yanukovych's filing. The appeal asked for a repeat of the Dec. 26 presidential election, which itself was a rerun of a November vote in which Yanukovych was declared the winner. The Nov. 21 vote was annulled by the high court because of fraud.
Court spokeswoman Natalia Sarapyn said the court would begin considering the appeal Monday and that the law says the process should take no more than five days.
The camp, which was vibrant and packed with thousands in the early days of the protests of the November election results, has deteriorated, with the number of its residents dwindling and sanitation conditions deteriorating.
Despite the order, camp residents vowed yesterday to stay in their tents until Yushchenko's inauguration ''because he didn't specify the timeline" for striking the camp, said Andriy Khomenko, the leader of some 1,000 pro-Yushchenko stalwarts. ''We want to put a logical end to what we have done," Khomenko said.