Protesters in Kiev threatened to retake city hall if authorities did not immediately drop charges against all fellow activists. (AFP PHOTO/ MARTIN BUREAU)
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Ukrainian opposition protesters ended a two-month occupation of city hall in Kiev on Sunday and opened a road to limited traffic to meet an amnesty offer aimed at easing a standoff over President Viktor Yanukovich's rule. The authorities, for their part, withdrew riot police from a flashpoint district of the capital, near the Dynamo Kiev football stadium, where at least three protesters died in January in violence between ultraradical activists and police.Tension still simmered before a parliament session Tuesday when Yanukovich may present his candidate for prime minister – a choice that will show if he is ready to make more concessions after 12 weeks of often-ugly street confrontation.Opposition leaders made it clear Sunday that they would also push at the parliament session for constitutional changes to reduce Yanukovich's powers.The unrest was sparked by Yanukovich in November when he spurned a free trade agreement long in the making with the European Union and opted for a $15 billion package of Russian credits and cheaper gas to shore up Ukraine's ailing economy.Opposition deputies said protesters had similarly pulled out of municipal buildings in several areas of western Ukraine, a hotbed of opposition to Yanukovich, and in one part of the southeast where the president has retained more support.
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