Tags: Ukraine | Protests | Parliament

Ukrainian Parliament Repeals Anti-Protest Laws

Image: Ukrainian Parliament Repeals Anti-Protest Laws
Deputies attend the Ukrainian parliament during the extraordinary session in Kiev on Jan. 28.

Tuesday, 28 Jan 2014 09:59 AM

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine's parliament has repealed anti-protest laws that set off violent clashes between protesters and police after they were put in place this month.

The vote on Tuesday came hours after Prime Minister Mykola Azarov submitted his resignation. He is one of the government figures most disliked by opposition supporters who have held protests for two months.

The protests turned violent after President Viktor Yanukovych pushed through laws to crack down on protests and raise possible prison sentences for creating mass disorder.

Azarov's resignation removes one of the figures most despised by the opposition. It came as the parliament opened a special session that is expected to repeal harsh anti-protest laws that were imposed this month. Those laws set off the police-protester clashes in which at least three protesters died.

His resignation was accepted by President Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych last week offered the premiership to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, one of the opposition's top figures. Yatsenyuk turned down the offer on Monday.

In addition, Yanukovych says an amnesty for dozens of protesters arrested in the demonstrations would be implemented only if protesters leave the streets and vacate buildings that they have occupied. Ending the protests without having other demands met appears unlikely.

The Tuesday moves would fall short of opposition demands, which also include Yanukovych's resignation and a call for new elections.

The pro-Western protests in Kiev began Nov. 21 after Yanukovych shelved a long-planned political and economic treaty with the European Union, then accepted a huge bailout package from Russian President Vladimir Putin instead. The crisis was aggravated in recent days after protesters and police clashed violently.

In a statement on the government website, Azarov offered his resignation in order to encourage what he called "social-political compromise."

Police violently dispersed two of those protests, after which crowds grew substantially, angered by the brutality. Protesters established an extensive tent camp in downtown Kiev's main square, where demonstrators have gathered around-the-clock since early December.

Protesters also seized several buildings, including the city hall, which they have used as makeshift operations centers and shelters.

After Yanukovych approved the anti-protest laws, demonstrations spread to other parts of the country, including to some cities in the Russian-speaking east, the base of Yanukovych's support.

Also unresolved is the issue that originally set off the protests — Yanukovych's shelving in November of a long-awaited agreement to deepen ties with the European Union.

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Ukraine's parliament has repealed anti-protest laws that set off violent clashes between protesters and police after they were put in place this month. The vote on Tuesday came hours after Prime Minister Mykola Azarov submitted his resignation.
Ukraine,Protests,Parliament
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2014-59-28
Tuesday, 28 Jan 2014 09:59 AM
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