Friday, January 17, 2014

Ukrainian Court Bans Protests in the Maidan

A Ukrainian court published on Wednesday a ban on protests in central Kiev, boosting opposition ears of a crackdown on rallies where hundreds of thousands have demonstrated against President Viktor Yanukovich.

Protests broke out in late November after Yanukovich spurned an EU free trade deal in favour of boosting ties with Ukraine's former Soviet master Russia. At least 50,000 marched on Sunday, reviving the movement after a Christmas and New Year lull.

At their height, weekly protests against Yanukovich rallied hundreds of thousands of people. There are still tents for protesters on Independence Square in central Kiev and a stage for opposition leaders to address the crowd.

The ban, decided on Jan. 6 but only issued now, runs from Jan. 8 to March 8 and defines a mass protest as "an event using loudspeakers.... posters, putting up of tents, stages or

The court did not explain the delay in publishing the ban but opposition activists saw it as the sign of a tougher line to come.

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