Thursday 14 December 2017

Russian language vote sparks riots in Ukraine

Pavel Polityuk in Kiev

Police fired tear gas and used batons to disperse hundreds of protesters in Kiev yesterday after parliament voted to make Russian, rather than Ukrainian, the main language in schools and local government in parts of the former Soviet republic.

The clashes occurred after protesters massed in front of a building where President Viktor Yanukovich was due to hold a press briefing.

The chamber rushed the language bill through on Tuesday, minutes after a surprise proposal by a pro-Yanukovich deputy, giving opponents little time to cast their vote.

Though the bill needs Mr Yanukovich's signature and that of parliament speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn -- who has offered to quit -- to become law, protesters took to the streets and stayed there overnight.

Irish Independent

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