Actor George Clooney gathers his papers after testifiying on Sudan before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, March 14, 2012, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Clooney called for more international pressure on Khartoum to stop military action against civilians in the new state of South Sudan. (UPI/Mike Theiler) | License Photo
Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Actor and activist George Clooney sent a video message to protesters in the Ukraine on Monday to express his solidarity with their pro-democratic demonstrations.
The minute-long video is delivered to "all you brave citizens of Ukraine." In his message, Clooney addresses the recent brutal treatment of protesters by security forces and the imprisonment of former Prime Minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.
"You cannot have a democracy when you arrest and harm its peaceful protesters. You certainly cannot have a true democracy if you take political prisoners, like Tymoshenko, simply because you disagree with the way they want to govern."
Clooney expressed America's admiration for those seeking democracy, and closed his message with these words:
"When you look to the West, know that we are looking back at you with great admiration. We wish you a peaceful and safe mission. We wish you the government that you want, and we wish you the strength to carry on. Good luck."
Demonstrations in Kiev began after President Viktor Yanukovych announced on November 21 that Ukraine would not sign a trade deal with the EU, a move that was seen as bowing to pressure from Russia and thwarting Ukraine's attempts to advance its economy.
Earlier this week, Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement in response to the situation in the Ukraine, where the government responded aggressively to protesters early Wednesday morning in the capital. Kerry's expression of "disgust" came two days after Vice President Joe Biden telephoned Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich to communicate his "deep concern" about the potential for violence in the Ukraine.