Kiev reaches out to U.S. on protest advice

Jan. 10, 2014 at 9:22 AM
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KIEV, Ukraine, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- The ruling political party in Ukraine said Friday it would reach out to U.S. officials for guidance on how to ensure public order during mass demonstrations.

Istvan Gajdos, a member of the ruling Party of Regions, said Kiev wants legal and technical advice from the United States on maintaining order during protests.

"Ukraine is ready to cooperate with Washington so as to most effectively adapt and use the legal and technical experience of advanced democracies in the sphere of maintaining public order during mass events," he was quoted by the National News Agency in Ukraine as saying.

The Ukrainian government said it was protecting its economic ties to Russia when in November it decided to suspend efforts to sign free trade and association agreements with the European Union. Ukrainian police were criticized for using force against protesters expressing frustration over the decision.

Gajdos said the responsibility for peaceful protests rested with law enforcement officials and the public.

"At the same time, the seizure of buildings and attacks on law enforcement officers are not peaceful demonstrations," he said. "Such actions are punished in line with the law not only in the United States, but also in the countries of the European Union."

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