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Ukraine's president calls for compromise amid violent protests

Monday, January 20, 2014 - 01:54

Jan. 20 - Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovich appeals for compromise, as police and demonstrators continue to clash in the streets of Kiev. Jillian Kitchener reports.

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Tensions remain high in Ukraine, after scores of people were injured in Sunday's mass protests. While battling to reassert his authority, President Viktor Yanukovich addressed the people of Ukraine and called for a compromise with the opposition: (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT, VIKTOR YANUKOVICH, SAYING: "I'm calling for a dialogue, for a compromise, for calm in our beloved country. I believe in the Ukrainian people. I'm confident about wisdom of our people. And I'm ready to serve people, and the country with good faith until my last breath as long as people trust me." More than 100,000 people attended Sunday's rally - denouncing both the president's rejection of a European future for Ukraine AND for introducing new laws, which the opposition says will usher in a police state. Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth urged Ukraine on Monday to respect the protesters' rights: (SOUNDBITE) (English) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, KENNETH ROTH, SAYING: "The people of the Ukraine showed this weekend that they have no intention of taking that line down. And we urge the government to respect that right, to allow them to peacefully protest and to not use the violence of a small minority to justify the repression of the rights of the vast majority to continue these protests." In continuing clashes, around two thousand people gathered on European Square near the barricade separating police from protesters. A line of toilets separated the two sides. Protesters threw flares at police, while police fired back rubber bullets and stun grenades. Masked men built a catapult to hurl objects at police. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) ANONYMOUS PROTESTER IN MASK, MAN WHO CAME UP WITH CATAPULT IDEA, SAYING: "I had the idea to throw bottles of water at riot police so this will be a sort of the people's water cannon." Up until now, Yanukovich has refused to yield to any of the opposition's core demands.

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Ukraine's president calls for compromise amid violent protests

Monday, January 20, 2014 - 01:54