Hundreds gathered on the front steps of the Manitoba legislature on Monday evening to support protesters in Ukraine who want the country to be part of the European Union.

The massive protests in Ukraine began after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich decided not to sign a trade pact with the European Union.

Protesters blockaded the main government building in Kyiv on Monday and brought traffic to a halt, seeking to force Yanukovich from office, after hundreds of thousands demonstrated on Sunday against his decision to turn away from the EU towards Russia.

Meanwhile, the country's militia has been trying to forcibly put an end to the pro-Europe protests.

In Winnipeg, people at Monday night's rally chanted, "Ukraine is part of Europe!" Some said they hope that will be the case someday.

"I want to see a democratically elected government and I want … the people to be able to get what they've asked for from their representatives. I want to see a fair and equal Ukraine," said Alexandra Shkandrij, who attended the rally.

Supporting loved ones back home

Said Myroslav Shkandrij, "Ukrainians were hoping for much better. They deserve much better, they expected much better."

Ukraine rally in Winnipeg

People gathered on the steps of the Manitoba legislature on Monday evening to show their support for pro-Europe protesters in Ukraine. (Caroline Barghout/CBC)

Organizers of the rally say more than one million Ukrainians live in Canada, and they're banding together to support loved ones in their home country.

"We hope that the rights and freedoms that we express here, enjoy here, our relatives back in Ukraine can do the same," said Nick Krawetz, who organized the event.

The protesters have signed a petition calling on the Canadian government to condemn the violence in Ukraine, as well as issue targeted sanctions against Yanukovich and his government if the violence continues.

"Canada can do a lot, but Canada is playing a game very often of political correctness," said Ostap Hawaleshka, who was at the rally.

"We can't say anything to anybody because God knows they might get mad at us, you know. Let them get mad at us!"

With files from Reuters