Sunday, 19 December 2010

Ukraine’s Opposition Demands Investigation Of Parliament Brawl

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian opposition parties urged the Prosecutor General to investigate a tussle in parliament Thursday that left six people hospitalized.
Lawmakers loyal to President Viktor Yanukovych last night scuffled with deputies who physically blocked the rostrum to protest a criminal probe against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the leader of the opposition.

"We demand the Prosecutor General’s office thoroughly investigate the acts of all of the fight participants," Tymoshenko’s group said today in a statement posted on the website of its allied Our Ukraine party.

The prosecutor’s office summoned Tymoshenko yesterday, accusing her of misusing funds from the 2009 sale of emissions permits to Japan. Ukraine sold 30 million Assigned Amount Unit credits to Japan for 10.40 euros ($13.85) each last year, according to Bloomberg data.

Opposition lawmakers wanted to spend the night in the assembly building in the capital, Kiev, to continue their protest. Members of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions returned to the site at night and started the fight, according to Tymoshenko’s allies.

Mykhaylo Volynets, a supporter of the former premier, sustained a head injury after being hit with a chair and was taken to hospital, deputy Ivan Kyrylenko told lawmakers today.
"Those who fracture the bones and faces of their colleagues should be held legally responsible," said Mykola Martynenko, the head of Our Ukraine’s parliamentary group, in an address to the deputies. He called for the dismissal of Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn.

Yesterday’s fight was the second act of violence in parliament this year. Lawmakers in April clashed over extending a lease for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet on Ukrainian territory in an exchange for lower natural gas price.

The vote then ended with deputies hurling eggs and smoke bombs during a brawl that led to injuries, including a broken nose and a concussion for lawmakers from Our Ukraine.

Yanukovych supporters "were forced to take measures to unblock the parliament and approve laws needed for the country," Oleksandr Yefremov, the ruling party’s parliamentary leader, told lawmakers.

He said the opposition’s aim was to halt work until Dec. 31 to undermine the adoption of the 2011 budget.

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