Ukrainian Protesters Reject Deal with Yanukovych
By a mass show of hands, thousands of protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square rejected the tepid compromise offered by President Yanukovych on Friday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
After five hours of talks with protest leaders, Yanukovych agreed to release about 100 prisoners detained since violence began escalating last weekend and to call an urgent session of parliament to discuss repealing the laws limiting freedom of speech and assembly passed on January 16. The passage of these laws led to clashes between protesters and riot police in Kiev the past week.
But these concessions are a far cry from responding to the protesters’ grievances. Protesters initially demanded that Yanukovych hold early presidential and primary elections, that the president’s cabinet resign, and that the constitution be altered to limit presidential powers and create a more democratic government.
Opposition leaders have promised to continue negotiating with Yanukovych, and the Associated Press reports that Yanukovych has promised a larger government reshuffle and amnesty for imprisoned activists. The protesters have not yet responded to the new offer.