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KIEV, January 30, (ITAR-TASS). Ukrainian UDAR opposition party leader Vitali Klitschko has claimed that a bill adopted by the Ukrainian parliament on an amnesty for participants of ongoing mass protests was “pushed” through the Verkhovna Rada in breach of order.
“Party of Regions members tried to push through their amnesty bill all day long, and they did it,” Klitschko said at a rally in downtown Kiev’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square).
“They demand that streets, [regional] administrations, Maidan be vacated. In exchange, they free those whom they arrested,” he said. “We asked that people be released without any conditions.”
Klitschko said the law would “raise temperature in society.”
Klitschko is a former professional boxer. The party he leads is called the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR). The Russian world “udar” means “a punch” in English.
The amnesty bill envisions a pardon for all people who took part in riots during mass anti-government demonstrations in Ukraine except for those who committed grave crimes. Protesters should vacate state institutions they seized within 15 days.
Anti-government protests hit Ukraine after Kiev refused to sign an association agreement with the European Union at a summit in Vilnius in late November, choosing the path of closer integration with Russia instead.
A second wave of demonstrations occurred in Ukraine after parliament passed a set of laws toughening punishment for public order violations on January 16. Protesters stormed and seized government buildings. At least three protesters are believed to have been killed in clashes with police. The Interior Ministry claims up to 200 policemen have been injured.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov tendered his resignation Tuesday, and President Viktor Yanukovich accepted it. Parliament on Tuesday voted to repeal some of the laws that sparked the second wave of protests.