[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
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.