Ukraine justice ministry seized

2014-01-27 10:04
Ukrainian opposition activists guard occupied building of the Ukrainian Justice Ministry in Kiev. (Sergei Gapon, AFP)

Ukrainian opposition activists guard occupied building of the Ukrainian Justice Ministry in Kiev. (Sergei Gapon, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kiev - Ukraine threatened to impose a state of emergency on Monday after demonstrators occupied the justice ministry and protests demanding the president's resignation spread despite a power-sharing offer.

Opposition leaders said an olive branch proposal from President Viktor Yanukovych was not enough to end the ex-Soviet country's worst crisis since independence and demanded snap elections this year.

The protests began more than two months ago over Yanukovych's rejection of a pact with the European Union under Russian pressure. But they have now turned into an all-out bid to oust him from power.

Protesters have already attempted to blockade 14 of the 25 regional administrations, including in southern and eastern parts of the nation of 46 million that predominantly speak Russian and share an historical allegiance to Moscow.

Tensions remained high in Kiev as several dozen radical protesters from a group named Spilna Sprava (The Right Deed) seized control of the justice ministry late on Sunday, smashing windows and erecting barricades outside.

‘Poisoned offer’

Justice Minister Olena Lukash, who is taking part in negotiations between the opposition and Yanukovych, said she would ask for the talks to be broken off if the building was not freed.

"I will be forced to ask the president of Ukraine to stop the talks if the building is not freed immediately and negotiators are not given a chance to find a peaceful solution to the conflict," Lukash told Ukraine's Inter channel.

If the protesters do not vacate the building, Lukash said she would also approach Ukraine's national security council with "a demand to discuss imposing a state of emergency in this country".

Europe has urged dialogue between the two sides - a call echoed by Pope Francis, who voiced hope in his weekly Angelus prayer that "the search for common good may prevail in the hearts of all".

Under unprecedented pressure, Yanukovych on Saturday offered the opposition posts in government including that of prime minister, but his opponents said the offer fell short of their needs.

Yanukovych proposed sharing leadership with Fatherland party chief Arseniy Yatsenyuk as prime minister and UDAR (Punch) chief and former boxing champion Vitali Klitschko as deputy prime minister.

Klitschko, who is believed to have a personal rivalry with Yatsenyuk, condemned the proposal in an interview with German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

"This was a poisoned offer by Yanukovych designed to split our opposition movement," he was quoted as saying.

Opposition leaders have been careful, however, to neither accept nor explicitly reject Yanukovych's proposals. They have said talks will continue although it was not clear when.

Yanukovych's office has also said the president is willing to consider constitutional changes to reduce his power and return to a system according more authority to the prime minister.

A crucial day in the standoff is expected to come on Tuesday when parliament meets in an extraordinary session to debate key sticking points in the crisis, including possible changes to protest laws.

Rebellion spreads

Thousands of activists meanwhile laid siege to local government offices in four Ukrainian cities, including the eastern hub of Dniepropetrovsk, Sumy in the northeast and Zaporizhya in the southeast that have in the past been sympathetic to Yanukovych.

Police used batons and stun grenades to break up the rally in Zaporizhya, causing injuries, local media said.

De facto powers in the occupied regional centres have passed to local pro-opposition lawmakers or improvised "People's Parliaments" set up by the protesters themselves.

An emotional crowd packed Saint Michael's Cathedral in Kiev for the Orthodox funeral to pay their last respects to 25-year-old Mikhail Zhiznevsky, who lost his life at the height of the clashes on Wednesday.

"He was a very brave, very kind person who gave his life for the future of Ukraine," one mourner, Iryna Davydova, told AFP at the ceremony which was attended by Klitschko and other opposition leaders.

In a statement on Monday, the European Union stressed that an end to human rights violations by the government "was a prerequisite for the restoration of trust".

Western leaders expressed alarm over the crisis.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said "the coming days could decide Ukraine's path into the future", while British Foreign Secretary William Hague told BBC television he was "very worried".

Read more on:    viktor yanukovych  |  pope francis  |  vitali klitschko  |  ukraine
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

BMW drift battle: M235i vs. speedway bike

Watch this insane drift contest with four-times dirt-track World champion Karl Maier riding a speedway bike against a BMW M235i.

 
 

Men24.com

Want to start talking dirty?
Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Enjoy the view because as from tomorrow you are going to need to come back down to earth and join the party. In the meantime use...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.