Ukrainian parliament approves amnesty for rioters
KIEV, January 30 (RAPSI) - The Ukrainian Parliament has adopted a bill on amnesty that will pardon those who participated in mass protests. The amnesty will not apply to the rioters who committed especially grave crimes.
During a special session of Parliament, 232 lawmakers supported the initiative to pardon the rioters, while only 226 votes were needed.
The law will take effect after all protester-occupied government buildings are released.
Opposition politicians have described the amnesty proposal as creating a hostage situation. UDAR party leader Vitali Klitschko said the new law would “raise the temperature in society,” according to media reports.
Other opposition leaders told demonstrators gathered on Kiev's Independence Square that there were procedural violations during the passage of the bill and confirmed that activists who have created a large tented camp protected by barricades in Kiev would not be quitting.
On Tuesday, the Ukrainian Parliament revoked a set of laws curtailing the activities of protesters, which - after having been passed earlier this month - incited riots in the country that left at least two protesters left dead. The decision to curtail the controversial set of laws was upheld by 361 lawmakers.
A series of laws aimed at imposing greater control over protests adopted by Parliament on January 16 gave rise to a violent wave of protests in the Ukrainian capital. A rally in central Kiev on January 19 turned violent when radicals attacked police.
As a result of the escalating tensions, over 200 law enforcement officers were injured, with dozens of police officers having been taken to hospitals, according to the Interior Ministry. Two protesters lost their lives in the clashes.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov declared his resignation on Tuesday in order to facilitate a peaceful solution for the ongoing political crisis.