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Protesters Rally After Ending Kyiv Occupation

  • RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service

Ukrainian antigovernment protesters have been rallying in Kyiv, as they push their campaign for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych.

Earlier on February 16, protesters evacuated Kyiv's city administration headquarters, which demonstrators had occupied for more than two months.

The evacuation was a condition set by authorities for an amnesty law under which all detained protesters, some of them facing criminal charges, would be freed.

Under the amnesty, protesters are to evacuate all occupied buildings by February 17.

The website of Ukraine's prosecutor-general posted a statement saying that the amnesty will be implemented on February 17. The statement posted on February 15 said protesters had met the terms for the amnesty by leaving government buildings.

The statement said the amnesty applies to those detained for violating the law during mass protests between December 27, 2013 and February 2, 2014.

Occupied since December 1, the Kyiv administration building had taken on symbolic significance as the “headquarters of the revolution,” or the mass movement triggered by the president's decision not to sign cooperation accords with the European Union in November and instead pursue closer ties with Russia.

Thorbjorn Jagland, the secretary-general of the Council of Europe, welcomed the move by protesters and the prosecutor-general's statement, saying it could mark the beginning of Ukraine's "exit from crisis."

Protesters are continuing to demand Yanukovych's resignation and new elections.

WATCH LIVESTREAM OF THE RALLY



With additional reporting by AFP, Reuters, and Interfax
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