Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has agreed to scrap anti-protest laws that sparked violent clashes in Kyiv. Meanwhile, opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk has rejected the president’s offer to become prime minister
The Ukrainian government will scrap harsh anti-protest laws that sparked a waved of violent clashes between the opposition and security forces, the presidency announced late Monday.
In a statement on the presidential website, Justice Minister Elena Lukash said that in a meeting between top opposition figures and President Viktor Yanukovych, "a political decision was made on scrapping the laws of Jan. 16, which aroused much discussion."
During the meeting, opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk also rejected Yanukovych's Saturday offer to become prime minister. Opposition leader and former boxing champion Vitali Klitschko and nationalist Oleg Tyagnybok were also present at the talks.
The two sides also agreed on granting amnesty for arrested protesters on the condition that activists leave officials buildings they have occupied and clear away barricades from roads, including the tent camp in Kyiv's central Independence Square.
The anti-protest laws were introduced on January 16 and within days clashes with police broke out after weeks of mostly peaceful protests. Three protesters died in last week's violence.
The anti-protest laws are likely to be repealed in a special parliament session on Tuesday.
The move would be a huge concession to the opposition. Nevertheless it has said protests will not stop as it does not meet all their demands, which include Yanukovych's resignation.
hc/ccp (Reuters, AFP, AP)