[QODLink]
Europe

Ukraine's opposition defies anti-protest laws

Protesters keep camping in Kiev and prepare for new rally despite president approving strict curbs on demonstrations.

Last updated: 18 Jan 2014 17:56
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
A protester said the new laws showed the government was afraid of its own people [Reuters]

Anti-government protesters have beefed up barricades in Ukrainian capital Kiev ahead of a new mass rally, defying President Viktor Yanukovych after he approved strict curbs on rallies in a move that provoked an outcry in the West.

Sergey Kaplin, a lawmaker from opposition UDAR party, said on Saturday the opposition has begun preparing for a nationwide strike for the next day.

We are returning to Stalinism. When these laws are enforced the situation in Ukraine will be worse than in Russia or Belarus.

Leonid Tertichny, protester in Kiev

Yanukovych, who has been wrestling with nearly two months of opposition protests, signed off on Friday on tough new laws introducing jail time and corrective labour for those occupying public buildings or disseminating slander on the Internet.

But the curbs are expected to reinvigorate the pro-EU opposition movement.

"We are returning to Stalinism. When these laws are enforced the situation in Ukraine will be worse than in Russia or Belarus," Leonid Tertichny from the central Cherkasy region said at the protest camp.

"But these laws have not intimidated us, they mobilised people. The protests will continue."

Olena Oshchepovska, a protester, said the new laws showed the government was afraid of its own people.

Several dozen pro-government demonstrators on Saturday attempted to hold a rally near the protest camp but were chased away. The opposition accused the government supporters of trying to provoke fresh scuffles.

Jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko accused her arch-rival Yanukovych of seeking to establish a "neo-dictatorship", urging people to mount a strong response.

In a fresh sign of mounting tensions, the president on Friday evening dismissed Sergiy Lyovochkin, his chief of staff, and will skip this week's economic forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

The ex-Soviet country will be represented at the prestigious forum by Prime Minister Mykola Azarov.

318

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Frustration grows in Kiev as pledges to end corruption and abuse of power stagnate after Maidan Square protest.
Thousands of Houthi supporters have called for the fall of Yemen's government. But what do the Houthis really want?
New ration reductions and movement restrictions have refugees from Myanmar anxious about their future in Thailand.
US lawyers say poor translations of election materials disenfranchise Native voters.
US drones in Pakistan have killed thousands since 2004. How have leaders defended or decried these deadly planes?
join our mailing list