KIEV- Ukraine’s embattled leader signed a deal Friday with the opposition in a bid to end the ex-Soviet country’s worst crisis since independence after three days of carnage left nearly 100 protesters dead.
But President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to hold early elections and form a unity government while granting amnesty for protesters detained during the unrest was met with scepticism by many who simply want their leader to step down.
“Elections in December are not enough — he has to leave now,” said 34-year-old Oleh Bukoyenko as he joined 40,000 protesters on central Kiev’s main square earlier Friday evening.
AFP estimated tens of thousands remained there overnight.
Ukraine’s parliament quickly adopted a flurry of opposition-backed laws that still need the president’s backing before entering into force.
One of the main measures amends a law that could see fiery opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko released from a seven-year jail sentence for “abuse of power” she controversially received after Yanukovych took office in 2010.
The chamber also approved a call for the president to dismiss acting Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko — a hate figure blamed for ordering the police to open fire on unarmed protesters.
The new unity government would have the authority to reverse the inflammatory decision Yanukovych made in November to ditch an historic deal promising a path to EU membership in favour of closer ties to former master Russia.