Ukraine Protesters, Police Pull Back in Contest over President
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Ukrainian opposition protesters ended a two-month occupation of city hall in Kiev on Sunday and opened a road to limited traffic, meeting an amnesty offer aimed at easing a stand-off over President Viktor Yanukovich's rule.
The authorities, for their part, withdrew riot police from a flashpoint district of the capital, near the Dynamo Kiev football stadium, where at least three protesters died in January in violence between ultra-radical activists and police.
Apparently accepting that the protesters had met the authorities half-way, the prosecutor's office said in a statement that the amnesty would come into force from Monday, Al Jazeera reported.
Criminal charges would be dropped against those protesters for violations committed between December 27 and February 2, it said - a period that includes a week of clashes in which six people were killed and hundreds of police and protesters injured.
Despite the conciliatory moves, opposition leaders sought to keep up pressure on Yanukovich, telling a rally in Kiev's Independence Square that he must abandon "dictatorial" powers and let them form a government independent of him.
On Tuesday, Yanukovich may present his candidate for prime minister to parliament - a choice that will show whether he is ready to make more concessions to the opposition after 12 weeks of often ugly street confrontation.
Opposition leaders made clear on Sunday they would also push in parliament for constitutional changes to reduce Yanukovich's powers.
The unrest was sparked by Yanukovich in November when he spurned a free trade agreement long in the making with the European Union and opted for a $15 billion package of Russian credits and cheaper gas to shore up Ukraine's ailing economy.