NO CHEERS FOR THE LEADERS - UPDATED @ 1015

24.01.14


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AUGB. Late last night opposition leaders Kitschko, Yatseniuk and Tiahnybok addressed protesters on Hrushevskoho St and in Kyiv's Independence Square following their meeting with President Yanukovych. Opinion was divided.

Tiahnybok, perhaps, best spelt out the demands proffered by the opposition leaders.

1. The immediate release of all political prisoners and the cessation of further arrests. According to Tiahnybok there are currently around 100 protesters who have been detained in connection with the recent protests. Today a further 50 and within the next few days another 1000 activists face arrest. The opposition demanded that all activists should be unconditionally released and that no further arrests should made.

2. Parliament has to revoke the anti-democratic laws adopted on 16 January and Azarov's government has to resign.

3. A new Constitution reverting power back to the Parliament needs to be adopted.

4. Fresh election laws need to be adopted (to prevent fraudulent elections).

5. A new Electoral Commission needs to be elected.

From Klitchko's address it was clear that the first two demands (re fresh parliamentary and presidential elections) were not negotiable.  

The demands therefore stopped short of what the protesters really wanted to hear - and this was very evident from the crowd reactions both on Hrushevskoho St and in Independence Square.

However, it should be noted that this was only round 2 of the negotiations. Round 3 will take place this morning.

At this rate, Klitschko and his opposition colleagues may need to go the full 15 rounds.  They may also need to up the stakes if they are to convince frustrated protesters about the logic of continued peaceful protests against a "bandit" regime which is abducting, beating up or killing protesters at will.

Meanwhle a relaxed Speaker, Volodymyr Rybak, announced yesterday that Ukraine's Parliament will hold a special session on 28 January to consider issues raised by the opposition (including the abandonment of anti-democratic laws adopted last week and the resignation of the government).  

Like everyone else, Mr Rybak knows full well that the opposition does not hold a majority in Parliament!

SEE ALSO: 

Reuters: Ukraine protesters seize building, put up more barricades

BBC: Ukraine unrest: Opposition sceptical over crisis talks

DW: Ukraine protesters expand Kyiv camp after failure of talks with Yanukovych


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