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About 300 protesters gather outside Ukrainian parliament

October 20, 13:53 UTC+3 KIEV

The number of protesters outside the Ukrainian parliament in downtown Kiev dwindled from about 1,000 to 300 people

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© EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

KIEV, October 20. /TASS/. The number of protesters outside the Ukrainian parliament in downtown Kiev dwindled from about 1,000 on Thursday to 300 people on Friday morning, a TASS correspondent reported.

Some 2,000 police officers are currently maintaining public order outside the Verkhovna Rada, cordoning off the building and allowing only MPs, journalists and staff members inside.

The organizers announced on Thursday that only supporters of Mikhail Saakashvili, the former Georgian president and ex-Ukraine’s Odessa governor who now leads the Movement of New Forces, will continue the protest.

Initially, the protests involved other political forces, namely Batkivshchina (Fatherland), 5.10 and also far-right organizations such as Svoboda (Freedom), National Corps and Right Sector (outlawed in Russia). They were later joined by some MPs from the ruling Pyotr Poroshenko Bloc. The key demands are abolishing the lawmakers’ immunity, changing the election law and setting up the anti-corruption court.

According to the city police chief Andrey Krischenko, "neither the organizers nor the participants know what they want and what they plan."

The activists, who remain outside the Rada, call on their supporters not to leave the scene.

Saakashvili has pledged to stage a new mass rally outside the Rada this Sunday. "We invite you for a popular assembly on October 22 at noon outside the Rada for the Maidan of reforms. We will discuss the victory plan over oligarchs ‘Ukraine after Poroshenko,’" he wrote on his Facebook page.

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