Ukraine parliament repeals anti-protest laws to calm street unrest

KIEV (REUTERS) - Ukraine's parliament, in a concession which drew wild cheers from protesters on the streets of Kiev, voted to repeal a set of anti-protest laws which had triggered violent unrest in the capital.

Acting to calm unrest on the streets and mass demonstrations against President Viktor Yanukovich's rule, a large majority of deputies - including Yanukovich loyalists - voted in favour of revoking the legislation they had rammed through on Jan 16.

Earlier, as parliament gathered in emergency session to find a solution to two months of protests, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov tendered his resignation, saying he hoped his departure would help towards a peaceful resolution.

While Yanukovich loyalists in his Party of Regions said they had acted in the best interest of Ukraine to find a compromise, opposition leaders said the protest movement would press for more gains.

"We are sure that the struggle will continue," said boxer-turned-politician Vitaly Klitschko. We have made only one step...We have not yet settled everything," he told journalists.

He said opposition lawmakers would now press for an amnesty for activists detained by police in the unrest.

When they heard that the anti-protest laws had been revoked, crowds of demonstrators on Kiev's Independence Square, focal point of the protests, broke into cheers.

"We have to change not only the government but the rules of the game as well," Mr Klitschko said.

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