The Washington Post

Protesters in Ukraine end two-month occupation of Kiev’s city hall

Protesters ended a two-month occupation of Kiev’s city hall Sunday and opened a road to limited traffic, meeting an amnesty offer aimed at easing a standoff over President Viktor Yanukovych’s rule.

The authorities, for their part, withdrew riot police from a flash-point district of the capital, near the Dynamo Kiev soccer stadium, where at least three protesters died in January in violence between activists and police.

Apparently accepting that the protesters had met the authorities halfway, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement that the amnesty would go into effect starting Monday. Authorities said criminal charges would be dropped against those protesters for violations committed between Dec. 27 and Feb. 2, a period that includes a week of clashes in which six people were killed and hundreds of police and protesters were injured.

Despite the conciliatory moves, opposition leaders sought to keep pressure on Yanukovych, telling a rally in Kiev’s Independence Square that he must abandon “dictatorial” powers and let them form a government independent of him.

On Tuesday, Yanukovych may present his candidate for prime minister to parliament — a choice that will show whether he is ready to make more concessions to the opposition after 12 weeks of often-ugly street confrontation.

Opposition leaders made it clear Sunday that they would also push in parliament for constitutional changes to reduce Yanukovych’s powers.

Demonstrators had swept into Kiev’s municipal building shortly after Yanukovych spurned a free-trade agreement long in the making with the European Union and opted for a $15 billion package of Russian credits and cheaper gas to shore up Ukraine’s ailing economy in November.

Masked men in military fatigues and the demonstrators they had protected against riot police since mid-December filed out of Kiev’s city hall Sunday, but they threatened to return if authorities did not carry out the amnesty promise. Andriy, 45, commander of about 100 men in black ski masks leaving city hall, said they were doing so with the understanding that charges against detained activists would be dropped.

Opposition deputies said protesters had similarly pulled out of municipal buildings in several areas of western Ukraine, a hotbed of opposition to Yanukovych, and in one part of the southeast where the president has retained more support.

In Brussels, E.U. foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she expected the authorities to close all pending court cases, including house arrests, “so as to facilitate the political dialogue in parliament this week.”

— Reuters

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.