Clashes inside Ukraine parliament as MPs pass strict anti-protest laws

Clashes inside Ukraine parliament as MPs pass strict anti-protest laws
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Ukraine’s parliament showed all signs of descending into farce on Thursday, as MPs traded punches and passed a raft of laws with little or no procedure.

The draft measures, including sweeping legislation to ban anti-government protests, were pushed through by political supporters of President Viktor Yanukovich.

The latest chaotic scenes in Kiev are unlikely to ease concerns Ukraine is coming out of a political crisis which has gripped it since November.

Ukraine’s former world heavyweight boxing champion and now opposition leader Vitali Klitscko condemned the days events.

‘‘What happened in parliament is a violation of all the rules and laws, it carries no legal weight. If the draft laws passed today are signed into law by the parliament’s speaker and then the president we will initiate a vote of no confidence, both for the speaker and the president,’‘ Klitscko said.

The procedure to take away MP immunity was also simplified, but Oleksandr Efremov, the leader of the ruling party inside the parliament called for the changes to go further.

“I believe we should remove an MPs immunity from prosecution. I’d vote for that, because members of parliament are able to hide behind this immunity and act like heros. If this immunity was removed these heros would soon become afraid,’‘ Efremov said.

While attempts were being made to curb anti-government protests in the capital, pro-Yanukovich supporters rallied outside parliament.

From Kiev, euronews correspondent Maria Korenyuk said: ‘‘The draft laws must now be signed by the president for them to come into force. It is solely for him to decide whether the voting was legal or not.’‘