News / Europe

Ukraine Rebukes West for Criticism of Anti-protest Law

Pro-European integration supporters with taped mouths attend a rally against newly approved anti-protest laws in Kyiv, Jan. 17, 2014.
Pro-European integration supporters with taped mouths attend a rally against newly approved anti-protest laws in Kyiv, Jan. 17, 2014.
Reuters
Ukraine on Friday rebuked the West for what it called foreign interference in its internal affairs after an outcry over legislation rushed through parliament to curb anti-government unrest in the ex-Soviet republic.
 
The U.S. State Department and senior European Union politicians voiced deep concern with the measures, which still need President Viktor Yanukovich's signature and foresee prison terms of up to 15 years for “mass violation” of public order.
 
Demonstrators first hit the streets in Kyiv in November after Yanukovich backpedaled at the last minute from a free trade deal with the EU in favor of closer ties with Kyiv's Soviet-era overlord, Moscow.
 
Protests quickly spiraled into an all-out movement against Yanukovich's government, attracting as many as 800,000 people at its peak. Numbers have dwindled since, but several hundred people remain camped out on Kyiv's central square or are occupying public buildings like City Hall.
 
On Sunday, at least 50,000 people demonstrated against Yanukovich in Kyiv.
 
The law, sped through parliament by Yanukovich's allies on Thursday, winning support from 235 of 450 lawmakers, sparked an uproar from the opposition and protesters.
 
Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara “expressed concern” over the foreign criticism and said it was “considered in Kyiv as meddling in the internal affairs of our state”, according to a ministry statement.
 
Kozhara, it said, made his comments during a meeting on Friday with the EU's ambassador to Kyiv, Jan Tombinski, and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt.
 
The new law further bans any unauthorized installation of tents, stages or amplifiers in public places - all of which remain on prominent display in the protest tent city on  Independence Square in the Ukrainian capital.
 
“I am deeply concerned by the events in Kyiv,” Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, said in a statement, adding that the legislation was “restricting the Ukrainian citizens' fundamental rights”.
 
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the course taken by Yanukovich was “a dead end ...Repression is no answer to a contentious, political debate”.
 
Parliament's vote on the law, whose text ran to more than 100 pages, was taken by a sudden show of hands that caught the opposition off-guard.
 
It followed a Thursday court ban on protests in Kyiv, which boosted opposition fears of an imminent police crackdown.

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid