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Kiev police fail to make protesters pack up tents from streets

October 20, 11:31 UTC+3 KIEV

About 100 demonstrators gathered outside the parliament this morning, and their numbers are growing

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© EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

KIEV, October 20. /TASS/. Police have been struggling to sway rally participants since early Friday to take down their tents that they had set up on Grushevskogo Street, blocking traffic in the center of the Ukrainian capital.

The protesters, mostly supporters of Mikheil Saakashvili’s Movement of New Forces, have no intention of removing tents and their field kitchen from the streets yet, and say that the demonstration organizers should make that decision first, TASS reported from the site.

The demonstrators repeatedly tried to extend the tent camp, but the police confiscated tents and styrofoam used to make them warmer. A few tents are fanned out across the Konstitutsii Square. National Guard and police officers are guarding the area. Police barricades were erected around the parliament’s building.

About 100 demonstrators gathered outside Rada this morning, and their numbers are growing.

The demands 

The mass rally outside Verkhovna Rada erupted in the early hours of Tuesday. It was put together by several opposition forces: the Self Reliance, Fatherland and Movement of New Forces political parties and the Freedom, National Corps and Right Sector (outlawed in Russia) far-right organizations, as well as some Verkhovna Rada members from the ruling Pyotr Poroshenko Bloc. Several clashes between the demonstrators and the police broke out during the rally. 

On late Thursday, the rally organizers announced that the Movement of New Forces supporters will continue demonstrating outside Rada, whereas the members of other political forces will continue the rally by other means. The activists demand the abolishment of parliamentary immunity, amendments to election laws and the establishment of an Anti-Corruption Court.

The parliament sent two draft laws on abolishment of parliamentary immunity to Ukraine’s Constitutional Court - one from Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko and the other proposed by a group of MPs.

As for the second demand (to change the election legislation), the MPs did not use any of the suggested draft laws as a basis and rescheduled their review for the next plenary meeting scheduled for November 7-10. Overnight, the protesters headed by Self-Reliance MP Yegor Sobolev and independent Yury Levchenko forwarded a draft law on the Anti-Corruption Court to the presidential administration that Poroshenko should present on his behalf for Verkhovna Rada’s study.

There are no draft laws on Friday’s agenda that the demonstrators are seeking to be adopted. 

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