Ukraine Anti-Gov't Protests Spread
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Ukraine's embattled president has sought to quell public anger by renewing talks with Brussels after massive anti-government demonstrations besieged government buildings and called for the removal of the ruling party.
President Viktor Yanukovych called the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and asked to renew negotiations on signing the association agreement.
The Ukranian president has struggled to reaffirm his grip on power as thousands of demonstrators besieged government buildings in Kiev, rallying against his decision to abandon a deal for closer ties with the EU swept the country and threatened his rule.
The rally has been mostly peaceful until a group of protesters tried to storm Yanukovich's office and police chased protesters away with tear-gas and truncheons, injuring dozens.
Al Jazeera's David Chater, reporting from Kiev, said the government had ordered 1,000 Interior Ministry troops to secure government buildings, as the number of protesters grew.
"The blockade is severely disrupting the process of government here," he said.
"Essentially, President Yanukovich has lost control of the centre of Kiev."
It was a violent police action against protesters early on Saturday that galvanised the latest round of protests, whose aim is to bring down the president and his government.
At least three politicians of the governing Party of Regions have quit in protest and one of them, Inna Bohoslovska, previously a vocal government supporter, called on other legislators to leave the party.
A top Agriculture Ministry official also resigned on Monday, Al Jazeera reported.
The opposition hoped to topple the cabinet of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov during a confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday.
The opposition, which now controls about 170 seats, would need 226 votes in the 450-seat Rada.