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Published on Jan 23, 2014

After days of intense violence that has left several people dead, leaders of the Ukrainian opposition movement have called on protesters to refrain from violence in a temporary truce with the government and police. Demonstrations began in the capital of Kiev in November, when President Viktor Yanukovych decided not to sign a pact with the European Union, but has evolved into anger about government corruption, police violence and new anti-demonstration laws. RT’s Peter Oliver attended today’s protest, and brings us the latest. Also, Ameera David talks to correspondent Lucy Kafanov about the US and international response to the Ukrainian protests.

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Ukrainian Police CAUGHT ON VIDEO Brutally Abusing Detained Protesters

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Published on Jan 23, 2014

January 23, 2014 Al Jazeera News

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Ukraine: protesters in Kiev urged to keep truce after talks end in stalemate

Government’s failure to grant key concessions met with anger in the capital, with protests spreading to other parts of country

Ukraine demonstrations: share your images and videos

 

 

Link to video: Ukraine: President Yanukovych under increasing pressure as truce is called with protesters

 

Opposition leaders begged protesters in Kiev to keep observing a truce with riot police late on Thursday night, after long talks with President Viktor Yanukovych ended without a major breakthrough.

The government’s failure to grant key concessions was met with anger by thousands of protesters manning the barricades in the capital, while the anti-government protests that have rocked Ukraine spread to other parts of the country during the day.

On Wednesday, after three people had been killed in clashes with riot police, opposition politician Vitali Klitschko had asked protesters in central Kiev to observe an eight-hour truce while talks went on. Klitschko had promised to “go on the attack” if Yanukovych did not launch snap elections within 24 hours, while Arseniy Yatsenyuk of the Fatherland party said he was ready to take a “bullet in the head”.

The protesters duly extinguished the flaming barricade of tyres that had been set up on the frontline, and the two sides stood facing each other down, the carcasses of burned out police buses between them. But when the trio of opposition leaders emerged after gruelling talks with the president that lasted more than four hours, they had changed their tune, asking for more time and a continuation of the ceasefire.

“The only thing we were able to achieve was not much,” a grim Klitschko told the crowd. He was booed by some of those at the barricade as he asked for a truce.

Vitali Klitschko at Kiev protests Opposition leader and former WBC heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko addresses protesters near the burning barricades in central Kiev. Photograph: Sergei Chuzavkov/AP

The fires were lit again and the capital was set for an uneasy night. On Independence Square nationalist leader Oleh Tyahnybok, who was part of the negotiations, put the idea of continuing discussions with the president to a midnight vote among the crowd, and it was overwhelmingly rejected. There are now difficult decisions for the opposition leaders, who have been unable to achieve their key demand of snap elections from Yanukovych but are uneasy about being held responsible for any further violence.

Earlier in the day Yanukovych suggested holding an emergency parliament session next Tuesday in the hope of ending the standoff, though this alone was unlikely to placate protesters.

 

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Kiev’s deadly protests – in pictures

Thick smoke from burning tyres engulfed central Kiev following a day of violence before opposition leader, Vitali Klitschko, declared an eight-hour truce as negotiations with the government continue

Protesters use a large slingshot to hurl a Molotov cocktail at police.
Protesters use a large slingshot to hurl a molotov cocktail at police. Photograph: Sergei Grits/AP
A pro-European integration protester carries tyres to burn at the site of clashes with riot police in Kiev.
A pro-European integration protester carries tyres to burn at the site of clashes with riot police in Kiev. Photograph: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters
A protester breaks up a mannequin on the roof of the burnt out truck.
A protester breaks up a mannequin on the roof of a burnt-out truck. Photograph: Sergei Grits/AP
A protester aims fireworks at police.
Fireworks are fired at police by protesters. Photograph: Efrem Lukatsky/AP
Priests stand in front of the burning barricades. At least two people died of gunshot wounds and a demonstrator also reportedly fell to his death after being chased by police on Wednesday
Priests stand in front of the burning barricades. At least two people died of gunshot wounds and a demonstrator also reportedly fell to his death after being chased by police on Wednesday. Photograph: Roman Pilipey/EPA
A protester using traffic sign as a shield.
A protester using a traffic sign as a shield in a burnt-out building. Photograph: Sergei Grits/AP
Opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko, right, talks with pro-European integration protesters.
Opposition leader, Vitaly Klitschko, right, talks to pro-European integration protesters. Photograph: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters
A  protester takes cover behind a makeshift shield.
A protester takes cover behind a makeshift shield. Photograph: David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters

 

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