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KIEV, February 03, (ITAR-TASS). Manifestations of extremism that occur during mass protests in Ukraine are inadmissible, President Viktor Yanukovich said Monday.
“It is necessary to say ‘no’ to extremism, radicalism and [attempts] to incite feud in society, based on political struggle for power,” Yanukovich said at a meeting with participants of an international round table entitled “The democratic process and the threat of radicalism in Ukraine,” the presidential press service reported.
“If someone had told [us] about this [displays of extremism] some time ago, we would not have believed it. Unfortunately, this is happening at our place,” the Ukrainian leader lamented.
“Vandalism that we see when state institutions are seized and calls that are voiced remind [us] of periods of distant history. We would not like that to happen once again, God forbid,” he said.
Yanukovich thanked the round table participants, emphasizing that they carry out enormous work that “unites people into a community of healthy people devoid of Nazism, racism, xenophobia that reminds us of these horrible periods of history.” He did not specify which historical events exactly he meant.
Protesters have been holding anti-government rallies that have often turned into violent clashes with police in Ukraine since the country’s authorities refused to sign an association agreement with the European Union at a summit in Vilnius in November 2013 and opted for closer ties with Russia instead.
The authorities adopted some laws to toughen punishment for public order violations in Ukraine in mid-January, which triggered a second wave of demonstrations, but later repealed the laws. Three protesters are believed to have been killed, and up to 200 policemen injured. Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov has resigned.