Ukraine lawmakers offer protester amnesty
By YURAS KARMANAU and JIM HEINTZ Associated Press January 29, 2014 2:10PM
Updated: January 29, 2014 3:59PM
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s parliament has passed a measure offering amnesty to arrested protesters, but only if demonstrators vacate most of the buildings they occupy.
The measure, passed on Wednesday after nearly 12 hours of negotiation, was not supported by the opposition parties driving the two months of protests that pushed the country into crisis.
Protesters occupy at least three buildings in the Ukrainian capital which they use as dormitories and operation centers, and are key support facilities for the extensive protest tent camp on the city’s main square.
With temperatures dropping as low as minus 20 Celsius (minus-4 Fahrenheit) during the night, continuing the protests without places to shelter would be virtually impossible.
Along with the logistical issues, the amnesty offer is likely to offend protesters because they regard it as fundamentally illegitimate in the first place, and the authorities are showing no sign of addressing any of the issues at the heart of the protests.
Viktor Chumak of the opposition party Udar said Wednesday that 328 people have been arrested in the course of the protests and “are hostages of the authorities,” the Interfax news agency reported.