Kiev, Ukraine – Despite this week’s concessions by President Viktor Yanukovich, including an amnesty bill that would free jailed activists, the opposition refuses to leave occupied government buildings and to demolish barricades here in the country’s capital.
The protesters say the demonstrations, triggered when the government ditched plans to sign an association agreement with the European Union, will continue until Yanukovich resigns. Protesters also are demanding early elections and the firing of authorities responsible for violent police dispersals of demonstrators.
Dozens of activists have been arrested since clashes broke out on January 19 and protesters stormed regional administration buildings in Kiev and the provinces.
Three activists were shot dead last week when clashes broke out between police and protesters in Kiev, but tensions have calmed somewhat since negotiations began between the government and opposition.
Meanwhile, Yanukovich has gone on sick leave with an acute respiratory ailment, leaving a political vacuum in a country destabilised by anti-government protests.