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Yanukovych Repeals Anti-Protest Laws, Signs Amnesty Bill

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Pro-EU Protests Erupt in Ukraine (177)
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Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych on Friday signed into law bills declaring an amnesty for demonstrators and canceling unpopular anti-protest laws, his press service said.

KIEV, January 31 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych on Friday signed into law bills declaring an amnesty for demonstrators and canceling unpopular anti-protest laws, his press service said.

A series of anti-protest laws were pushed through parliament without discussion by the ruling pro-presidential Party of Regions on January 16, sparking renewed street protests that rapidly descended into violence between police and demonstrators.

In a bid to defuse the political crisis, parliament voted overwhelmingly earlier this week to cancel the unpopular bill and to release detained protesters.

It marked the first real concession by Yanukovych since the anti-government protests erupted in November after he rejected an association agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.

The amnesty law will only come into effect, however, if the opposition vacates occupied buildings and opens up roads that it has blocked in the center of the country's capital, Kiev.

The protesters will have 15 days to withdraw from Kiev streets once the law is published by the official media.

Opposition leaders have previously rejected this condition, however, as effectively creating a hostage situation in the country.

Topic:
Pro-EU Protests Erupt in Ukraine (177)
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amnesty, Viktor Yanukovych