Ukraine protests to continue as Govt, Opposition set for talks
Zee Media Bureau
Kiev: A day after anti-government protests in Kiev turned violent, the Ukraine Government and the Opposition are slated to begin talks on Monday to placate the situation, repots said.
Parliamentary speaker Vlodymyr Rybak said that the talks would begin Monday.
"I, as the head of the Supreme Council, guarantee that literally tomorrow such a round table will take place and all representatives in this process will have an opportunity to express their opinions," Mr Rybak told Ukrainian TV, the BBC cited.
The talks would be a bid to find a peaceful solution to the people’s anger over the government ‘s refusal to sign a political and economic agreement with the European Union.
The EU agreement had been eagerly anticipated by Ukrainians who want their country of 45 million people to break out of Moscow`s orbit. Opinion surveys in recent months showed about 45 percent of Ukrainians supporting closer integration with the EU and a third or less favoring closer ties with Russia.
Angered with the govt, lakhs of protesters converged at the Independence Square defying a ban.
Sunday`s rally saw over 5 lakh people thronging the Independence Square.
Another bunch of demonstrators also besieged the President Viktor Yanukovych`s office prompting the police to use force.
Planning to continue the protests on Monday, many protesters spent the night in Independence Square, camping there and also at city hall.
The protesters also were infuriated by the violent dispersal of a small, opposition rally two nights before.
While opposition leaders called for a nationwide strike and prolonged peaceful street protests to demand that the government resign, several thousand people broke away and marched to Yanukovych`s nearby office.
A few hundred of them, wearing masks, threw rocks and other objects at police and attempted to break through the police lines with a front loader. After several hours of clashes, riot police used force to push them back.
Dozens of people with what appeared to be head injuries were taken away by ambulance. Several journalists, including some beaten by police, were injured in the clashes.
Opposition leaders denounced the clashes as a provocation aimed at discrediting the peaceful demonstration and charged that the people who incited the storming of the presidential office were government-hired thugs.
Speaking before the vast crowds on Independence Square from the roof of a bus, the opposition leaders demanded that Yanukovych and his government resign.
"Our plan is clear: It`s not a demonstration, it`s not a reaction. It`s a revolution," said Yuriy Lutsenko, a former interior minister who is now an opposition leader.
With Agency Inputs
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