Ukraine Releases All Detained Protesters
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Ukraine's leader called for the opposition to yield some ground as authorities announced the release of hundreds of detained protesters days ahead of a mass, anti-government demonstration.
The move appeared to be a concession from the government of Viktor Yanukovich, but is unlikely to appease protesters, who for more than two months have been occupying Kiev's central Independence Square and nearby buildings in a bid to oust the president.
"I don't want to wage war," Yanukovich said in a televised interview. "I want to safeguard the state and resume a stable development. We are asking the opposition to also make concessions."
Ukraine's attorney general Viktor Pshonka also announced on Friday that "234 people were arrested between December 26 and February 2. None of them are in custody any more".
He added that if the amnesty law's condition was met, all charges, some carrying sentences of up to 15 years in jail, would be dropped over a month starting from February 18.
But he set one condition, that protesters evacuate all public buildings they are occupying, such as Kiev city hall next to Independence Square, AFP reported.
At least six people have lost their lives since demonstrations began in November when Yanukovich decided not to sign a trade agreement with the EU, opting instead for closer ties with Russia.
While the president initially ignored opposition demands, he yielded some ground after protests turned deadly at the end of January, dismissing the government and signing a law agreeing to amnesty all detainees.
The protest movement shows no sign of dying down, with protesters rebuilding and fortifying barricades on the square to keep riot police out of their anti-government enclave.
Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minster who is now in jail, has said that the only condition that will satisfy demonstrators is the departure of Yanukovich himself.