Europe

Ukraine media: Amnesty law backfires

Ukrainian opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Vitali Klitschko, Oleh Tyahnybok Image copyright AP
Image caption Protest leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk (L), Vitali Klitschko (C), and Oleh Tyahnybok (R).

An amnesty law for detained protesters in Ukraine has failed to appease the opposition, and President Viktor Yanukovych remains under pressure, the country's media report.

Under the bill, detainees will be freed as long as protesters leave the buildings they have occupied and unblock streets and squares.

The opposition says that around 300 protesters are in detention, 30 are missing, 60 journalists have been injured and five protesters have died.

Awaiting 'real attack'

Pro-opposition 5 Kanal TV says that the law is "beneficial to the authorities". It quoted MP Inna Bohoslovska, who quit the ruling Party of Regions earlier, as saying the bill would give the authorities "a breather to regroup their forces and move towards the use of force".

"They will use the next 15 days during which the buildings should be vacated in order to get rid of everyone they believe will not submit at the first snap of their fingers. And they will gather force for a real attack," she says.

Oleh Tyahnybok, leader of the opposition Freedom Party, says on Ukrayinska Pravda website that the party will take its cue from the "needs, wishes and demands" of the protesters.

Weak leader?

Segodnya, a popular daily, reports that the bill passed because "the president spoke so loudly that no-one could miss what he said - that the authorities are strong enough to calm the situation".

But few other voices agree. Opposition politicians say that the vote makes the president look weak.

MP Arsen Avakov of the opposition party Fatherland, writes in his blog that President Yanukovych had to get "tough" and use threats to get the votes needed.

Opposition MP and former defence minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko also portrays the president as under stress. He says on Glavkom website that Mr Yanukovych was rushing around and making phone calls to "cement his faction" ahead of the vote. According to Mr Hrytsenko, "everything Yanukovych does next will only testify to his weakness".

Another opposition MP, Andriy Shevchenko, writes in his blog that Mr Yanukovych not only failed to make the protesters leave the buildings they occupied, but he could not even manage to "look good in the eyes of the West".

Artist and activist Ivan Semesyuk says the president missed "the last chance to escape from the turmoil unharmed".

Bad move for protest leaders?

But some journalists believe that the three opposition leaders equally failed, criticising their decision to negotiate ahead of the amnesty bill.

Popular blogger Roman Shrike asks the opposition "Troika" (Vitali Klitschko, Oleh Tyahnybok and Arseniy Yatsenyuk): "Have your talks done you any good? You should have held talks not with the dictator, but with those who can help send this dictator off to history's rubbish dump."

And journalist Serhiy Rachynsky thinks their decision to talk to the government was a mistake that may cost them their political careers.

Writing on Facebook, he says: "The black smoke coming from burning tyres forced them to play out in parliament the last and final act of a drama at the end of which they are to leave the political stage... You're no heroes."

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