Ukraine: 'Seeing is believing' as activists await promised amnesty

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Ukraine: 'Seeing is believing' as activists await promised amnesty

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There is uncertainty in Ukraine after opposition protesters ended a two-month occupation of Kiyv’s city hall on the promise of an amnesty.

In theory criminal charges will be dropped against them from Monday.

Barricades may have cleared but activists are awaiting evidence that the authorities will follow through.

On Sunday opposition leaders kept up the pressure on President Viktor Yanukovych, telling a rally that he must abandon what they described as “ dictatorial” powers.

Opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk remained sceptical over President Yanukovych’s motives:

“It seems to me that President Yanukovych just wants to buy time. He is not interested in fixing the political and economic problems. The only chance to tackle this mess is to establish an inclusive government in this country, not a pro-Yanukovych government, but a pro-Ukraine government. And if he doesn`t realise this we will have another cycle of tensions and insurgency.”

Many in Ukraine are waiting to see if the conciliatory gestures from both sides mark a turning point in the standoff or end up just being a pause?

One opposition activist said ending the occupation was not a withdrawal: “We have just returned to the point where we started from. It was important for us that people were free and there were no criminal proceedings with the threat of 8-15 year prison terms.”

Government supporters are more dismissive of the Opposition campaign:

“The Opposition does not control what’s going on in Independence Square. There are different groups – middle, left, right, red, green. They don’t agree with each other – some will go, other will stay.”

On Tuesday Yanukovych is to present his candidate for prime minister to parliament – a choice which analysts say will show whether he is ready to make more concessions to the opposition after 12 weeks of often violent street confrontations.