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Ukraine: Police Dismantle Kuchma Critics Tent Camp

Kyiv, 1 March 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Ukrainian police today began dismantling a tent camp erected in the center of Kyiv by protesters who demand that President Leonid Kuchma resign over the mysterious death of a journalist. Reports say about 400 police cordoned off the strip of about 50 tents and began to pull them down. The demands for Kuchma's resignation were prompted by the disappearance last year of Heorhiy Gongadze, who was critical of Kuchma's performance in office and his policies.

A headless body believed to be Gongadze's was found outside Kyiv. Two days ago, the Kyiv prosecutor's office opened an investigation into Gongadze's murder.

Kuchma's involvement in the case was alleged after opposition politicians disclosed tapes in which a voice similar to Kuchma's is heard giving orders to "deal" with the reporter. The International Press Institute in Vienna has said that it cannot verify to a high degree of certainty the authenticity of the tapes.