Ukraine lawmakers mull amnesty for arrested protesters

Protesters guard barricades in front of riot police in Kiev, Ukraine, Jan. 29, 2014. AP

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine's parliament discussed an amnesty Wednesday for those arrested during weeks of protests in the crisis-torn country - but some of the possible conditions attached to it would be unacceptable to the opposition.

The amnesty bill is part of a series of concessions from embattled President Viktor Yanukovych, after a week of street clashes between police and protesters and protesters' seizure of government buildings in western Ukraine. 

  The prime minister has resigned and harsh anti-protest laws have been recalled, but CBS News correspondent Holly Williams reports those moves didn't go nearly far enough to get the protesters off Kiev’s streets and out of the occupied government buildings.

Protesters tell CBS News they'll stay put until Yanukovych himself resigns and their country holds early elections.

“I want no more Yanukovych in the country, and no more corruption of the biggest party of parliament,” a protester identifying herself as Masha told Williams in Kiev. Asked whether she was worried about the prospect of further violence, Masha said it was certainly possible.

Andre, another protester, told CBS News he was demonstrating for his son's sake.

“We are not free people after the laws adopted by our president. My son is growing up, and I want him to grow up in a free country,” he told Williams. “I don't want him to grow up like in prison.”

Two amnesty proposals were up for a parliamentary vote Wednesday, one of which says amnesty would be granted only if demonstrators leave their massive street protests and vacate buildings they occupy.

Opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk said the protesters would not agree to leave the streets in exchange for an amnesty and wanted the condition dropped.

Over the course of two months, anti-government protesters have established a large tent camp in the main square of Kiev, called the Maidan, and seized three buildings nearby as operation centers and sleeping quarters. They have also erected large barricades of ice, wood, furniture and other materials. At least three people have been killed in clashes with police.

"They have set a number of conditions, and the key condition under the draft bill is to let the Maidan go and only afterwards all protestors will get an amnesty," Yatsenyuk said. "This is unacceptable for us."

Meanwhile, one group of protesters clashed with another Wednesday in bid to free a government building in the center of Kiev, which they had seized.  At least two protesters were injured.

Andriy Khoronets, an activist with the Svoboda party which represents more moderate protesters, tried to force members of the more militant Spilna Sprava group to vacate the Agriculture Ministry building as part of a compromise with the government.

"We must be seen as people who can fulfill one's obligations," Khoronets told The Associated Press outside the building. "There should be no anarchy."

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