#Ukraine : ” Hustling Through `Repeals’ to `Anti-Protest’ Laws”

#AceNewsServices `Ukrainian Parliament‘ repeals controversial anti-protest laws

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUkraine’s parliament is expected Tuesday to repeal legislation passed earlier this month that sparked the violent escalation of largely peaceful protests. Officials in the former Soviet country said last night that an agreement had been reached with opposition leaders to review a bundle of anti-protest laws in an extraordinary session of Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.

According to (Reuters) – Supporters of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich hustled a sweeping law through parliament on Thursday in an attempt to curb anti-government protests, sparking an outcry from the opposition and raising tensions on the streets.

The law, backed by deputies from Yanukovich’s Regions Party and allies, also adopted a similar stance to Russia on registration of foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs), insisting they should pay taxes on profit.

NGOs that were financed from abroad and took part in political activity in Ukraine would be categorized as “foreign agents”, it said.

But the law, which ran to more than 100 pages, appeared directed mainly at preparing the ground for action to end the street protests that have taken place in the capital Kiev and some other cities since November.

Yanukovich’s refusal at that time to sign a free trade deal with the European Union in favor of boosting ties with Ukraine’s former Soviet master Russia brought hundreds of thousands on to the streets in protest.

Though numbers have dwindled since, several hundred people remain camped out on Kiev’s central square of Kiev or are occupying public buildings such as City Hall. On Sunday, at least 50,000 people demonstrated against Yanukovich in Kiev.

The law, which still needs Yanukovich’s signature, bans any unauthorized installation of tents, stages or amplifiers in public places, on pain of a fine of up to $640 or up to 15 days in detention.

Thousands of Ukrainians are continuing to express support to eurPROTEST STAGE:

People and organizations who provide facilities or equipment for such meetings will be liable to a fine of up $1,275 or detention of up to 10 days.

Opposition politicians regularly use a stage on the square to broadcast messages of support to the protesters, and the law will clearly make such action illegal.

Other tough but vaguely worded threats envisage jail sentences ranging from two to 15 years for offences involving stopping people entering buildings or “mass violation” of public order.

Protest ‘motorcades’ involving more than five vehicles, like those staged outside government residences including that of Yanukovich in recent weeks, were also banned.

The decision in parliament, taken by a sudden show of hands that caught the opposition off-guard, followed a court ban on protests in Kiev, boosting opposition fears of an imminent police crackdown.

“The people of Ukraine have been deprived of civil rights and liberties.

According to these laws, standing on the Maidan (central square) is prohibited, setting up tents is prohibited, talking about corrupt judges is prohibited. And many other things are also banned,” said boxer-turned-politician Vitaly Klitschko, an opposition leader who is regarded as a potential strong challenger to Yanukovich for the presidency.

(Reporting By Pavel Polityuk; Writing by Richard Balmforth; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Cynthia Osterman)

More Soon …………………………………………………………….. 

Enhanced by Zemanta

#acenewsservices, #european-union, #kiev, #soviet, #ukraine, #verkhovna-rada, #viktor-yanukovich, #viktor-yanukovych, #yanukovich

#Kiev – ” Peace at Barricades Still Holding Tinderbox Time”

#AceNewsDesk says its Thursday, January 23 2014 in #Kiev fires are being doused and you could cut the air with a knife, as smoke drifts over the police and the protesters alike!

Published time: January 20, 2014 19:33
Edited time: January 23, 2014 16:54

Anti-government protesters gather for a rally in Kiev January 23, 2014.(Reuters / Gleb Garanich)Anti-government protesters gather for a rally in Kiev January 23, 2014.(Reuters / Gleb Garanich)
19:47 GMT:

 

PHOTO: #Ukraine clergymen stand in front of police blockade saying prayers & holding crosses http://t.co/333fneLosa pic.twitter.com/jiZ5U93hGw

— RT (@RT_com) January 23, 2014

19:19 GMT:

A group of several hundred anti-government demonstrators in the central Ukrainian town of Cherkassy broke a police cordon outside the local administration building, and broke the glass on the front door.

One official offered his resignation, but later withdrew, saying he was forced to sign his notice under pressure.

Demonstrators are demanding the resignation of regional governor Sergey Tulub.

18:23 GMT:

The White House has reiterated its threat to impose sanctions on Ukraine.

During a media briefing White House spokesman Jay Carney chided the Ukrainian authorities for failing to respond to “legitimate” grievances of the opposition, and for imposing draconian anti-protest legislation last week.

The US embassy in Kiev has already stripped several officials implicated in the violence in Kiev of US visas.

18:08 GMT:

The ceasefire called for the duration of the negotiations between officials and opposition leaders expired at 1800 GMT, though the politicians are still talking behind closed doors. So far there has been no violence; Klitschko implored his supporters to refrain from aggressive moves before the end of the talks.

18:05 GMT:

President Viktor Yanukovich is meeting with three main opposition leaders, including Viktor Klitschko, in a government building in Kiev. The highly-anticipated negotiations were postponed throughout the day.

January 23, 2014 (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko) January 23, 2014 (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)
17:07 GMT:

Ukrainian Prime Minister Nickolay Azarov says his embattled government will step down, but only if the parliament votes for such an outcome.

“The question of the government’s resignation is the prerogative of the parliament. If such an initiative gathers enough votes, we will do so. I have said before that this is a legal possibility,” Azarov told journalists at the Davos Economic Forum.

The resignation of the cabinet has been one of the main demands of the opposition, but the pro-government coalition holds a narrow majority in the Rada, the country’s legislative assembly.

Azarov also insisted that he has no plans to introduce a state of emergency in the wake of the violent protests in Kiev, but warned that it was the government’s “constitutional right and obligation to restore order in the country”.

“People should not think that the government lacks available resources to put an end to this,” he said.

16:58 GMT:

Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovich, has demanded the immediate release of all the journalists detained during riots in Kiev.

“Journalists perform their professional duties and by force of circumstances find themselves in all sorts of situations. I’m asking everybody to acknowledge that fact and if possible assist the journalists in their work,” Yanukovich said, as cited by the ITAR-TASS news agency.

Russian journalist, Andrey Kiselev, who was detained earlier on Tuesday together with a group of protesters, has already been released by the police.

Lenta.ru website said its employee was injured during the arrest, and no charges were brought against him.

15:41 GMT:

The extraordinary session of the upper house of the Ukrainian parliament is set to be held on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. local time, a statement on the official website of the Ukrainian parliament reads.

15:23 GMT:

Several hundred residents in the Western Ukrainian city of Rovno have taken over a regional administration building and demanded to meet with the authorities, Interfax News agency cites local media as reporting.

According to the information, the activists smashed out windows and broke down the doors before entering the hall for the regional administration while singing the Ukrainian national anthem.

Apart from those who entered the building, thousands of other residents have descended on the building, according to local media reports.

Published time: January 20, 2014 19:33
Edited time: January 23, 2014 16:54
January 23, 2014 (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko) January 23, 2014 (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

15:22 GMT:

Smoke rises from behind a makeshift barricade as the opposition continues to hold their ground amidst a temporary ceasefire which has brought relative calm to the Ukrainian capital, RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky reports live from the scene.

14:44 GMT:

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych told EU Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso by phone that an extraordinary session of the upper house of the Ukrainian parliament would be held to find a peaceful settlement to violent political conflict currently gripping the country.

“Viktor Yanukovych informed Jose Manuel Barroso about a conversation he held with the Chairman of the upper house of the Ukrainian parliament Vladimir Rybak. According to the President, in the coming days an extraordinary session of parliament will be held in Ukraine, which will address all the issues raised in the course of negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the conflict,” – the press service of the Ukrainian state said in a statement, Interfax news agency reports.

January 23, 2014 (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)January 23, 2014 (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)

The Ukrainian president reassured the EU Commissioner there was no divergence of opinion in the government regarding the need for a peaceful resolution of the ongoing conflict.

14:33 GMT:

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has called a special session of parliament next week to discuss the current unrest that has spiraled out of control in recent days, leaving at least two people dead and the capital Kiev a veritable warzone.

Yanukovich made no indication that he was preparing to make concessions to the opposition, which has demanded snap elections and a repeal of a recently passed anti-protest law which threatened hefty prison sentences for those blocking government buildings or wearing masks during demonstrations.

Opposition leaders have demanded that the president should make concessions by Thursday evening or face renewed street battles.

January 23, 2014 (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)January 23, 2014 (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)

14:25 GMT:

Recent deaths of protesters in Kiev might have been staged, Sergey Burlakov, press-secretary of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs said in an interview to the 112 Ukrainian channel.

“We officially confirm that 2 deaths [an Armenian national from Dnepropetrovsk, Sergey Nigoyan, and Belarus citizen, Mikhail Zhiznevsky] have been recorded. The information came from the participants in the clashes on Grushevskogo Street. One man [Zhiznevsky, who was injured but still alive] was transported first to the Labor Union House, then to another building. In the end he died,” he says.

That’s why we urge people to come forward in order to find out the real reason [of the men’s death], adds Burlakov.

At this point, the investigation has found out that in both [death] cases firearms were used. However, it wasn’t a service gun according to preliminary investigation. The officers don’t use them [service guns] during their duties, he maintains.

Special forces have only the “resources for using rubber bullets,” stun grenades and gas grenades, which is allowed according to the law, he adds.

Burlakov also denied any presence of snipers, saying that photos that have appeared [in the media] might have been concocted in Photoshop.

14:08 GMT:

Ukrainian Prime Minister Nickolay Azarov said snap presidential elections in Ukraine would currently be untenable, he told journalists in the Swiss city of Davos on Thursday, Itar Tass news agency reports.

“In accordance with the constitution, in a year, more or less, scheduled elections are set to take place,”he said. “How do you think under these conditions we could hold elections, when the center of Kiev is practically a war zone. What kind of election [could you hold] amidst this disorder.”

Azarov said the situation in the country would have to be normalized and everyday life needed to return to normal before they could start talk about anything else.

The Ukrainian PM added that those fighting against the government are militants, and not the opposition.

13:12 GMT:

Around 2,000 citizens of Lvov have gathered outside the area administration office, the building has been blocked off to anyone coming from the outside apart from the disgruntled crowd, some of which is inside, demanding an audience with the regional head, Oleg Salo, RIA Novosti reports.

It is not clear when Salo will meet with the picketers, but it is known that he is in Lvov at this point.

Thursday, January 23

13:06 GMT:

European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, is to travel to Kiev next week, says official EC representative Olivier Bailly, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, Stefan Fuele, will also go in the Ukrainian capital on Friday, confirmed Bailly, adding that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich told Barroso they [Ashton and Fuele] “would be welcome in Kiev to help this process that he is committed to and ready to have a political dialogue in his country.”

13:05 GMT:

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in a phone call warned Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich about “possible EU actions” against Kiev “if the situation in Ukraine deteriorates further,” says the official EC representative, Olivier Bailly.

According to Bailly, Barroso called on [the Ukrainian government] to engage in genuine dialogue with the opposition.

“The use of force is obviously, for the Commission, not the answer to the political situation. Mr. Barroso also urged President Yanukovich to have a top-level dialogue with the opposition immediately,” said Bailly.

Yanukovich told Barroso during the call “that it was not foreseen to install a state of emergency in Ukraine,” Bailly added.

12:55 GMT:

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev has postponed his planned visit to Ukraine in May 2014 “over violations of human rights and political instability in the country,” the press secretary of the presidential institution announced, reports the Sofia globe.

“The president is deeply concerned by the escalation of tensions in Ukraine which has resulted in the deaths of civilians and expressed his sincerest condolences to the families of those who have died,”Plevneliev’s office said.

“The Republic of Bulgaria has always supported the European development of Ukraine and despite the decision of the Ukrainian authorities to postpone signing the Association Agreement being disappointing for both our country and the EU, the door of the European Union is still open for a democratic Ukraine which observes human rights,” stressed the statement.

12:53 GMT:

My russian colleague from @lentaruofficial Andrey Kisilev was detained and beaten up by police in Kiev http://t.co/9dtNX0Mh5d

— Alexey Yaroshevsky (@Yaro_RT) January 23, 2014

12:04 GMT:

Eighteen people have been arrested for attacks on Berkut troop buses, reports the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs. During the attack, one of the Berkut officers broke his leg.

According to the ministry, the men were armed with baseball-bats. They [the attackers] could face up to six years in prison.

11:02 GMT:

The Armenian community has promised $100,000 for the head of the person who killed Sergey Nigoyan. Leaflets with a photo of the Armenian national from Dnepropetrovsk, who was allegedly killed by a sniper during the clashes on Wednesday, have been spotted in the Ukrainian capital.

10:51 GMT:

A ‘quiet period’ has been negotiated between police and opposition activists until 8pm local time (18:00 GMT), says opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko. He said he will arrive in Grushevskogo Street by the end of the ceasefire to report to the protesters on the meeting he and other opposition leaders are to have with President Viktor Yanukovich.

Eyewitnesses report that the radical activists indeed stopped pelting police cordon with stones and firecrackers, which they did for hours. Footage from the scene shows white steam clouds rising from where barricades of tires were previously burning.

January 23, 2014. (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)January 23, 2014. (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)

Klitschko said police will not use stun grenades during the truce.

The meeting with the president will focus on the opposition’s demands to cancel a package of laws, which they see as dictatorial and draconian, Klitschko said. He added he will be demanding resignation of the cabinet of ministers and conduction early presidential election.

“The chances are small, but they exist,” he said.

The previous round of negotiations on Wednesday failed to produce any tangible results. Opposition threatened “to go on the offensive” after it, while the government recommended them “to be more modest in ultimatums.”

10:30 GMT:

Protesters remain camped out on Grushevskogo Street, which abuts the Cabinet office and parliament where a strong police perimeter has been set up in anticipation of further violence. The smoldering remains of burnt articles continue to pump white smoke into the air, a sharp contrast to the black pillars of smoke which filled the sky from burning piles of tires strewn throughout the city street’s on Wednesday. Protesters, many clad in masks, remain firmly entrenched in their makeshift camp not far from a 13-meter-high colonnade of a Kiev stadium. Many armed with broken pieces of masonry, Molotov cocktails and other improvised weapons are standing idly by, though tensions from Wednesday’s chaotic riot continue to blanket the city.

January 23, 2014. (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)January 23, 2014. (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)

10:19 GMT:

The majority of the population in Ukraine does not support extremists calls for an armed uprising, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has claimed.

We clearly say: Any unconstitutional actions in the capital should be discontinued. Calls for an armed uprising are absolutely unconstitutional and lead to bloodshed. They [calls] come from a very narrow circle of extremists and are not supported by an absolute majority of the population of Ukraine,” the Prime Minister said on Thursday in Davos, during a meeting with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland.

The Prime Minister noted that the Ukrainian government is making every effort to resolve the situation peacefully, but pointed out that there are some “basic requirements” opposition members should meet to reach a compromise.

08:40 GMT:

Radical protesters launch a fresh, if not particularly intensive attack on the police lines. Footage from central Kiev shows a dozen activists shooting firecrackers and throwing stones from amid a loose crowd of about a hundred of people.

08:01 GMT:

The recent situation in Kiev won’t change the plans about delivering the Gifts of the Magi (the Three Wise Men) in Kiev, says Archpriest Viktor Ivaschuk from Kiev Eparchy.

“The Gifts of the Magi will be delivered from Minsk [Belarus] to Kiev on Friday, January 24,” he adds.

Kiev on January 23, 2014 (Reuters / Gleb Garanich)Kiev on January 23, 2014 (Reuters / Gleb Garanich)

 The hope that one of the biggest Christian relics will help to settle recent conflict in Kiev was expressed by Archpriest Georgy Kovalenko from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchy.

The Gifts of the Magi have already gathered tens of thousands believers in Russia and Belarus.

07:32 GMT:

Eleven more radical activists suspected of involvement in mass riots have been arrested by Kiev courts, the Kiev Prosecutor’s Office reported. Five others have been put under house arrest. A total 26 people have been arrested in connection with the riots so far.

07:13 GMT:

A director of Lenta.doc, a media off-shoot of the Moscow-based news website Lenta.ru, has been detained in Kiev. Andrey Kiselyov was spotlighting recent protests on Thursday morning, when Ukrainian riot police took him into custody, Lenta.doc founder Aleksandr Rastorguev reported. Rastorguev says his colleague was beaten by the police.

At least three journalists have been detained and 35 injured in Kiev clashes on Sunday and Monday, according to Reporters Without Borders, freedom of press advocacy organization.

Kiev on January 23, 2014 (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)Kiev on January 23, 2014 (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)

06:40 GMT:

Building No. 4 on Grushevskogo Street again caught fire from the burning tires just a few hours after fire brigades contained and stopped a blaze on the building. Firefighters are trying to extinguish the renewed blaze as thick smoke spews from the building’s windows.

Meanwhile radical protesters nearby stopped throwing Molotov cocktails at police and ceased drumming on burnt vehicles and empty barrels.

05:30 GMT:

The leader of the opposition Udar (Strike) party Vitaly Klitschko should be “more modest in his ultimatums,” Ukraine’s Prime Minister, Nikolay Azarov said in an interview to BBC channel.

“We know the level of support for opposition leaders. We have a democratically elected president and many people support him. We can see it by mass [pro-government] demonstrations in Kiev and other [Ukrainian] regions,” he explained.

He added that his government is ready for a dialogue with the opposition and that both the opposition and the government are obliged to stop the bloodshed.

Kiev on January 22, 2014 (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

Kiev on January 22, 2014 (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)

04:23 GMT:

Russia is outraged with the foreign interference into Ukraine’s internal affairs, said Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for President Putin. Moscow, on the contrary, is keeping its distance from the developing crisis.

“We cannot comprehend why foreign ambassadors in Kiev dictate what the Ukrainian authorities should do, where they should pull out troops from, where they should pull out police from,” he told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.

Peskov said that Moscow is closely observing the events in Ukraine and remains convinced that the Ukrainian government knows what it is doing.

“We don’t feel the justification to interfere with the internal affairs of our brother nation Ukraine. It is unacceptable. Russia didn’t do it and will not do it,” he stressed.

03:59 GMT:

Police attempted to dismantle some of the barricades set up by rioters on Grushevskogo Street, but had to retreat after a radical wing of the opposition began throwing rocks at authorities, according to Espreso.tv.

Pro-European protesters throw tyres into a fire during street violence in Kiev January 23, 2014.(Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)Pro-European protesters throw tyres into a fire during street violence in Kiev January 23, 2014.(Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)

03:59 GMT:

Ukrainian ruling Party of Regions MP Eugene Balitskiy said the opposition has no control over what is happening on Independence Square. He noted that the opposition is refusing to take responsibility for those who reportedly died during the riots, Interfax reported.

Balitskiy also said he believes that “the opposition followed the footsteps of bloody scenarios of Syria and other Arab countries.”

00:50 GMT:

Fire brigades contained and stopped a blaze which started when fire spread from tires to the building No. 4 on Grushevskogo Street. Rioters are burning tires in central Kiev as part of their confrontation with police. The burning tires are difficult to doze out in the chaotic situation.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

#acenewsservices, #greenwich-mean-time, #itar-tass, #jay-carney, #kiev, #president-of-ukraine, #prime-minister-of-ukraine, #thursday, #ukraine, #ukrainian, #verkhovna-rada, #viktor-yanukovich, #viktor-yanukovych, #white-house