Kiev protesters threaten to retake city hall

2014-02-16 20:07

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Kiev - Hundreds of anti-government protesters in Kiev threatened on Sunday to retake the city hall, just hours after evacuating the building, if the authorities did not immediately drop criminal charges against all fellow activists.

"We are issuing an ultimatum to authorities - if they do not immediately announce the complete and unconditional rehabilitation [of protesters] in about 2 000 cases, we will retake City Hall," Andriy Illenko, a lawmaker from the nationalist opposition Svoboda (Freedom) party, told protesters.

"This ultimatum expires in several hours," he warned, as around 500 protesters gathered outside the building, some wearing helmets and army jackets and hitting metal batons on the ground.

The city hall had been occupied since December by protesters trying to oust President Viktor Yanukovych, as part of anti-government unrest that has rocked Ukraine for close to three months.

But in a conciliatory gesture on Sunday, protesters evacuated the building in response to a last-minute concession on Friday by the authorities which released all protesters detained in the unrest.

The clearance of city hall was one of the conditions set in an amnesty law approved by Yanukovych at the beginning of the month, promising to heed opposition demands to release detainees and drop charges against them - but only if some parts of Kiev were evacuated.

But it has caused consternation among some protesters, as key opposition demands such as constitutional reform and a new government still show no sign of materialising.

Read more on:    viktor yanukovych  |  ukraine  |  ukraine protests

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