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Ukraine: Opposition Deputies Demand To Meet With Kuchma

Kyiv, 24 September 2002 (RFE/RL) -- About 50 opposition deputies who entered Ukraine's presidential building today have begun a hunger strike and are demanding to meet with President Leonid Kuchma. Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko said the deputies intend to remain outside Kuchma's office until he agrees to see them.

But Reuters reported that Kuchma has refused to meet with the protesters, saying, "I cannot see any constructive demands from them."

Earlier today, more than 5,000 antigovernment protesters rallied outside parliament in Kyiv.

The demonstration was organized by the Socialist and Communist parties and the bloc of former Prime Minister and opposition deputy Yuliya Tymoshenko.

The opposition is calling for early elections and impeachment if Kuchma refuses to resign.