Ukraine MPs scrap anti-protest laws

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iol pic wld Ukraine Protests~42

AP

Protesters attend a march in central Kiev, Ukraine on January 27, 2014. Picture: Sergei Grits

Kiev - Ukraine lawmakers on Tuesday scrapped draconian anti-protest laws that have angered the opposition, in a move aimed at bringing a deadly two-month standoff to an end.

Applause broke out in parliament including from opposition benches after the vote passed with 361 deputies in favour and two against.

The laws were approved only this month by the parliament, which is dominated by President Viktor Yanukovych's Regions Party.

But Yanukovych on Monday agreed to abolish them after talks with protest leaders, who have made their repeal a key demand.

The laws had made the occupation of public buildings punishable by up to five years in prison, outlawed protest convoys of more than five cars and imposed a ban opposition activists from wearing masks or helmets.

Dissemination of slander on the Internet was also banned and punishable by a fine or corrective labour of up to one year - a rule seen as a way of curbing social media, which have played a key role in protests.

Sapa-AFP


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