News / Europe

Ukraine Protesters Leave Kyiv City Hall

  • Anti-government protesters sing the national anthem as they gather at a barricade, central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • An anti-government protester throws a Molotov cocktail during clashes with riot police, Independence Square, Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • A woman carries sandwiches as anti-government protesters gather in Independence Square, central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • An anti-government protester stands behind a barricade during clashes with riot police in Independence Square, Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters gather in Independence Square in central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • A man who was injured during clashes between anti-government protesters, Interior Ministry members and riot police receives medical treatment inside Mikhailovsky Zlatoverkhy Cathedral (St. Michael's golden-domed cathedral), Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • Riot police officers spray anti-government protesters with water in Independence Square in central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters throw stones towards Interior Ministry officers during a rally, near Parliament, in Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters throw stones at the office of the pro-presidential Party of the Regions, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters escort an unidentified man after attacking an office of the pro-presidential Party of the Regions, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • A woman carries stones during clashes between anti-government protesters and Interior Ministry members, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters burn the Party of the Regions flags, calendars and booklets during a rally, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
VOA News
Anti-government protesters in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, have vacated city hall to meet a government amnesty offer.

The end of the two-month occupation came Sunday, after the government made concessions and released detained protesters.

But opposition leaders have made it clear that mass street demonstrations will not end until President Viktor Yanukovych resigns.

The apparent easing of tensions comes after Ukrainian authorities freed all 234 jailed members of the protest movement.  The release was part of an amnesty law passed last month.  The government said once the opposition vacates seized government buildings in the capital, criminal charges will be dropped - another condition of the law.

One opposition leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, warned if the government does not drop the charges, protesters would take over the buildings again.

"We are waiting now for the general prosecutor's order and we expect him to comply with their set of conditions as stated in the amnesty law," said Tyahnybok.  "If he does not issue such an order, we have the right to take all these [public] buildings back under the people's control and not only these, so the authorities have to understand that.''

Nationwide protests against President Yanukovych erupted in November when he backed out of a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf called the release of protesters an important step to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine and move toward a peaceful solution to the country's crisis.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised Ukraine a $15 billion aid package when a new government is in place, even if it is run by the opposition.

Some information for this report proviced by AP, AFP and Reuters.

Check the latest images from Ukraine:

  • Anti-government protesters sing the national anthem as they gather at a barricade, central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • An anti-government protester throws a Molotov cocktail during clashes with riot police, Independence Square, Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • A woman carries sandwiches as anti-government protesters gather in Independence Square, central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • An anti-government protester stands behind a barricade during clashes with riot police in Independence Square, Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters gather in Independence Square in central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • A man who was injured during clashes between anti-government protesters, Interior Ministry members and riot police receives medical treatment inside Mikhailovsky Zlatoverkhy Cathedral (St. Michael's golden-domed cathedral), Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • Riot police officers spray anti-government protesters with water in Independence Square in central Kyiv, Feb. 19, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters throw stones towards Interior Ministry officers during a rally, near Parliament, in Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters throw stones at the office of the pro-presidential Party of the Regions, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters escort an unidentified man after attacking an office of the pro-presidential Party of the Regions, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • A woman carries stones during clashes between anti-government protesters and Interior Ministry members, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.
  • Anti-government protesters burn the Party of the Regions flags, calendars and booklets during a rally, Kyiv, Feb. 18, 2014.

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