Ukraine protesters seize regional government offices
Ukraine anti-government protests are expanding after talks between the opposition and President Viktor Yanukovych stalled.
In western Ukraine, the protesters seized the regional government office in the city of Ivano-Frankivsk and are storming another one in Chernivtsi.
Protests were reported in Lutsk, in the north-west, and Sumy, in the east.
Meanwhile, President Viktor Yanukovych has vowed use “all legal means” if a solution to the crisis is not found.
The president also promised to amend anti-protests laws rushed through parliament last week and reshuffle the government at an urgent session of parliament due to begin on Tuesday.
In the capital Kiev, new barricades were erected overnight as the main protest camp expanded.
Freezing demonstrators in Kiev’s Independence Square – widely known as the Maidan – also occupied a government building as a truce with riot police continued.
Meanwhile, the parliament of the Crimean Autonomous Republic – seen as a staunch supporter of Viktor Yanukovych – urged the president to declare a state of emergency.
In other developments on Friday:
- Germany and France are summoning Ukraine’s ambassadors over recent deadly clashes in Kiev
- the EU’s enlargement commissioner, Stefan Fuele, has held talks in Kiev with Viktor Yanukovych and is due to meet opposition leaders
- Viktor Yanukovych names Security and Defense Secretary Andriy Kluyev as new head of the presidential administration
The crisis escalated this week when the first deaths in the unrest happened.
In Ivano-Frankivsk, some 1,500 protesters occupied the regional administration and barricaded themselves in the building, according to the Ukrainska Pravda website.
The protesters are now demanding that the local governor should resign immediately.
In Chernivsti, crowds stormed the governor’s office as police tried to protect the building. People shouted “Shame on you!” and “Resign!”
In Lutsk, a big demonstration is being held outside the local administration. Unrest was also seen in Sumy.
Meanwhile, in Lviv protesters have now built barricades around the governor’s office that they seized on Thursday. There were also reports that some members of the special police, Berkut, were resigning.
In Kiev, masked activists stood guard around the newly-build defense barriers. Some activists were seen carrying riot shields captured from the police as trophies.
The barricades took shape on Hryshevskyy Street and also closer to the presidential administration building.
One group of protesters took control of the main agricultural ministry building, reportedly meeting no resistance.
Ministry workers were allowed to take their possessions but not permitted to go to work.
Interior Minister Vitali Zakharchenko issued a statement guaranteeing that police would not take action against the protest camp on Independence Square.
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