EU urges Ukraine to scrap anti-protest laws
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is urging Ukraine to scrap new laws that are viewed as curtailing fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and the holding of peaceful protests.
The 28-nation bloc’s foreign ministers said Monday the laws rammed through Ukraine’s Parliament last week under “doubtful procedural circumstances” must be scrapped.
Ukraine has been shaken since November by massive public protests after Russia lured the country’s leaders with financial incentives to ditch closer cooperation with the EU.
The laws are widely seen as an attempt to silence the protests — but new rallies over the weekend drew tens of thousands of people and turned violent.
The EU statement calls on all parties to “exercise restraint,” urging authorities “to fully respect and protect the peaceful demonstrators’ right to assembly and speech.”