Almost No One Is Happy With Ukraine's Protest 'Amnesty' Law

A law requiring protestors to stop protesting if they want amnesty was passed today, to the anger of many.

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The Ukraine government, which is currently experiencing all sorts of upheaval with the resignation of prime minister Mykola Azarov (who has now been replaced by his deputy PM, Serhiy Arbuzov) and his entire cabinet (which will remain in place for now), isn't ready to give in to protestors just yet.

President Viktor Yanukovych pushed a new law through today that would give amnesty to the dozens of protestors who are currently in jail -- but only if protestors agree to leave the government buildings they've occupied for weeks now. Though the law was meant as a conciliatory gesture to the protestors, it's had the opposite effect. Now, both protestors and Ukraine's opposition government are furious.

The law passed by a vote of 232 to 11, but that was without 173 votes from the opposition, which abstained in protest. Apparently, former president Leonid Kravchuk's speech urging parties to agree on the amnesty law because the country was "on the brink of a civil war" went unheeded.

"People took to the streets because they want to change the situation," Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms leader Vitali Klitschko said. "A statement, 'We will free people, if they go home' is unacceptable ... Withdrawal of charges and amnesty is not enough."

Even Yanukovych's own party wasn't thrilled about the law. According to Time, the president "rushed to the chamber on Wednesday night to rally his supporters" and "pressured his allies to follow the party line."

The opposition wants new presidential elections held immediately. Protestors are demanding Yanukovych's resignation. Basically, everyone wants Yanukovych out except for Yanukovych. And he doesn't appear to be going anywhere willingly.

Outside the Ukraine, German chancellor Angela Merkel spoke with Russian president Vladimir Putin today, urging him to do something to stop the violence in the Ukraine. Putin told Merkel that any "outside interference" in Ukraine's affairs would be unacceptable, so it doesn't look like that's going to lead anywhere. And, according to Reuters, the United States is preparing financial sanctions "if violence escalates."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.