anti-government protesters call brief truce for new talks
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[January 23, 2014]
KIEV (Reuters) — Anti-government
protesters in Ukraine agreed on Thursday to a truce of several hours in
clashes with police while new talks took place between opposition
leaders and President Viktor Yanukovich, Interfax news agency said.
Protesters, who have been bombarding police with petrol bombs and
cobblestones in Kiev since Sunday, told opposition leader Vitaly
Klitschko they would suspend further action until 8 p.m., the agency
Klitschko is one of three opposition leaders who has been leading
demonstrations against Yanukovich since November, when he pulled out
of signing a free trade deal with the European Union in favour of
closer economic ties with Russia.
The unrest swelled into peaceful mass rallies against the four-year
rule of Yanukovich which turned violent on Sunday when hard-core
radicals broke away from the main protest area in the capital Kiev
and clashed violently with riot police.
Three people have been killed on the side of protesters — two of
them from gunshot wounds — and more than 150 police have been
injured in the worst street violence in post-war Kiev.
Interfax said protesters agreed after Klitschko went to the
barricades where protesters are confronting police from behind a
curtain of black smoke from burning tyres and appealed to them to
observe a truce until 8 p.m.
The new round of talks between Yanukovich and Klitschko, former
economy minister Arseny Yatsenyuk and far-right nationalist Oleh
Tyahnibok were due to begin at 3 p.m., opposition sources said.
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In an initial round of talks on Wednesday, Yanukovich refused to
make any real concessions to opposition leaders' demands for the
dismissal of his government and repeal of sweeping anti-protest laws
rammed through parliament by Yanukovich loyalists last week.
(Writing by Richard Balmforth; editing by Timothy Heritage)
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