By Duncan Mackay

Lviv has been one of main centres for protests against Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych ©AFP/Getty ImagesDecember 2 - Lviv's bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics will not be affected by being at the centre of the pro-European protests in Ukraine, it has been claimed. 


A general strike has been taking place today in Lviv, which is located close to Poland and is strongly in favour of closer ties to the European Union (EU).

Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovy has refused to use force against the protesters, known as Euromaidans, and condemned riot police in the capital Kiev who have been accused of using excessive violence to try to curb the situation which have seen demonstrators blockading Government buildings as they step up attempts to force President Viktor Yanukovych to resign

The protests are the biggest since the 2004 Orange Revolution as more than 100,000 people have demonstrated in Kiev at the decision last week by Yanukovych to refuse to sign a deal on closer EU ties and instead maintain links with Russia.

Ukrainian protesters shout slogans as thousands gather for a pro-EU opposition rally in Lviv ©AFP/Getty ImagesUkrainian protesters shout slogans as thousands gather for a pro-EU opposition rally in Lviv ©AFP/Getty Images

Crowds have occupied Independence Square in Kiev calling for a "revolution" against Yanukovych, while others are entrenched inside City Hall.

National Olympic Committee of Ukraine (NOCU) officials claim that, despite the political situation, the bid will not be affected because it enjoys the overwhelming support of the local population.

Sergey Bubka, the world record holder for the pole vault who is now President of the NOCU, is due to host a number of senior figures from the Olympic Movement in Kiev on Friday (December 6) a special celebration for his 50th birthday.

Ukrainian officials are confident that the event will take place as planned.

Thousands of Ukrainian protesters gather for a pro-EU opposition rally at Independence Square in Kiev ©AFP/Getty ImagesThousands of Ukrainian protesters gather for a pro-EU opposition rally at Independence Square in Kiev ©AFP/Getty Images

Istanbul's bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics was badly undermined in the summer when thousands of protesters occupied Taksim Square in protest at Government plans to build a replica Ottoman-era barracks there.

Some experts believe that the Turkish financial capital was leading the race until the riots broadcast around the world allowed Tokyo to regain momentum and beat them in the final vote at the IOC Session in Buenos Aires in September.

The situation in Lviv comes as city officials prepare to travel to Lausanne this week where the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will be holding an orientation seminar for the six bidders, who also include Almaty, Beijing, -Kraków, Oslo and Stockholm. 

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