Some 10 thousand people flocked to Kyiv Appelate court in Kyiv center to show support for former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko standing trial over his role in controversial 2013-2014 coal contracts secured  in then occupied Donbas.

On Friday, the Kyiv Appellate court is scheduled to open a hearing  on the motions from both prosecutors and  former president’ lawyers with both parties seeking to reverse the earlier ruling in Poroshenko’s case ordered by a lower court.

The rally is part of growing campaign protesting against a clampdown on Ukrainian opposition and cases of ‘selective’ justice.

Earlier in the morning, protestors who put up a stage with loudspeakers outside the court building were met with heavy law-enforcement  presence, with dozens of police cars stationed in adjacent streets.

Early morning also saw some confrontation between police and several opposition MPs who complained of police overacting.

Protestors are seen waving European Solidarity flags and placards like ‘Hands off Poroshenko’, ‘No to police state’, and ‘Let’s give back Ukraine its dignity’.

At noon, the crowd tried to block the street though police interfered, unblocking part of it to allow some trickle of public transport, ambulances, and police cars.

In a statement issued on the eve of the event, organizers said that ‘Poroshenko’s case  was turned into ‘mock trial’ and ‘circus’ asking ‘what can be coming next?’

Apart from a minor scuffle in the morning over a stage erection, the protest is clearly peaceful and police reported no incidents.