Protests against government continue in Ukraine

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Demonstrators gather at a barricade erected by anti-government protesters near the site of clashes with riot police in Kyiv, Jan. 30, 2014.
Ukrainian anti-government protesters are vowing to continue demonstrating despite passage of a law offering amnesty to those arrested during the protests over the past two months.
"They voted for these laws only in their own interests. They want us to evacuate all buildings, like Kyiv city hall where we still have a chance to warm up as its minus 20 outside right now, but they won\’t do anything because we saw how they canceled laws that were adopted on the 16th of January, but Yanukovych has yet to sign this decision. They only sign the laws they need," said one protester, explaining the thinking behind the refusal.
The parliament approved the measure late Wednesday, offering amnesty to those detained only if the anti-government groups abandon the public buildings they are occupying.
Lawmakers passed the measure Wednesday night, but the opposition in parliament opposed the move. Opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk described the condition that protesters vacate the buildings as "unacceptable".
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian president\’s web page said President Viktor Yanukovych is on sick leave due to acute respiratory disease accompanied by fever. It did not say how long he would be on leave or whether he will be trying to work at all during that time.
President Yanukovych has insisted that he and his government are doing all they can to solve the crisis in the country.
But the political opposition continued to "whip up" the situation, he added.
The statement was issued in Ukrainian on the presidential website after weeks of often-violent anti-government protests in Kiev and other cities led to a series of government concessions.
Demonstrators first took to the streets in November when President Yanukovych backed out of a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties to Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin promised Wednesday that even if the opposition comes to power in Ukraine, Moscow will make good on its pledge of a $15 billion loan to Ukraine, along with substantial natural gas discounts.
Source: VOA and agencies

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