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Ukraine braces for mass protests over higher tariffs

KIEV, June 20 (RIA Novosti) - A Ukrainian federation of trade unions has promised to organize mass protests throughout the country over a rise in consumer tariffs for natural gas and public utilities.

About 200,000 people are expected to take to the streets in all of the country's regional centers apart from Kiev in response to a May 1 decision by the country's energy regulator to raise consumer tariffs for natural gas and electricity by 25%, and by almost 100% from July 1. The second raise is currently being considered by the government.

"The protests have not produced any reaction from the government," organization head Oleksandr Yurkin said referring to previous rallies.

The trade unions will hold a protest rally in Kiev on June 27 that is expected to be attended by at least 100,000 people.

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