Ukrainian parliament repeals anti-protest laws

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukraine's parliament has repealed anti-protest laws that set off violent clashes between protesters and police after they were put in place this month.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

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

The prime minister of protest-torn Ukraine submitted his resignation on Tuesday, saying he hoped the move would help bring peaceful resolution to the crisis that has gripped the country for two months.

Mykola Azarov's resignation would remove 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 must be accepted by President Viktor Yanukovych, but that appears to be only a formality. 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 President Viktor 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.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

or Subscribe now so you can share your opinion! It’s only a penny for a month trial.

Latest Forecast
More World News
Ukraine workers find more bodies at crash site
Ukraine workers find more bodies at crash site

Rescuers retrieved more bodies Monday in the sprawling fields of east Ukraine where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed, killing all 298…

Palestinian death toll in Gaza reaches 508
Palestinian death toll in Gaza reaches 508

The U.N. chief and the U.S. secretary of state headed to Cairo on Monday to try to end two weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting that has killed at…

Scores dead in first major ground battle in Gaza
Scores dead in first major ground battle in Gaza

The first major ground battle in two weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting exacted a steep price Sunday: It killed 65 Palestinians and 13 Israeli…

McIlroy earns 3rd major with British Open win
McIlroy earns 3rd major with British Open win

Rory McIlroy had to work a little harder, sweat a little more. No matter. Just like his other two majors, this British Open was…

Rebels to give MH17 black boxes to officials
Rebels to give MH17 black boxes to officials

Rebels have recovered the black boxes from downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and will hand them over to the International Civil Aviation…

Monitors try to secure Ukraine plane crash site
Monitors try to secure Ukraine plane crash site

International monitors moved gingerly Saturday through fields reeking of the decomposing corpses that fell from a Malaysian airliner shot…

Ukraine says Russia destroying crash evidence
Ukraine says Russia destroying crash evidence

Ukraine accused Russia on Saturday of helping separatist rebels destroy evidence at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines plane shot down in…

IU alum killed in Malaysia Airlines crash
IU alum killed in Malaysia Airlines crash

A former Indiana college student was reportedly on board the Boeing 777 that was shot down and crashed Thursday in Ukraine.

Official: Bodies found at Malaysian plane site
Official: Bodies found at Malaysian plane site

Emergency workers, police officers and even off-duty coal miners - dressed in overalls and covered in soot - spread out across sunflower…

Ukraine: Pro-Russia rebels downed Malaysian plan
Ukraine: Pro-Russia rebels downed Malaysian plan

Ukraine accused pro-Russian separatists of shooting down a Malaysian jetliner with 298 people aboard Thursday, sharply escalating the crisis…