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Ukraine President Decries 'Coup' as Protesters Swarm Capital

Parliament votes to dismiss President Yanukovich, release from detention opposition leader Tymoshenko

by
Common Dreams staff

Turmoil continues in Ukraine on Saturday as its parliament voted to oust embattled President Viktor Yanukovich and authorized the release of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.

Al Jazeera reports that the vote to dismiss Yanukovich

came hours after anti-government protesters seized [his] office in the capital city of Kiev. He had insisted earlier in the day that he would not step down, even as his grip on power appeared to be rapidly crumbling. The latest developments followed two days of violence that turned central Kiev into a battle zone and left at least 77 people dead.

The military said it would not get involved in trying to stamp out the uprising, after protesters entered Yanukovich's office compound in the capital.

Yanukovich denounced the move as a "coup."

Ukraine's parliament voted to have early presidential elections May 25.

The country is now "dangerously split," the Guardian reports, and

[t]he disintegration of Yanukovich's government marks a setback for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, who had counted on the Ukrainian leader to bring the country into a Eurasian union of former Soviet-bloc nations.

The Guardian and France 24 are live-blogging the events as they continue to unfold.

Twitter users are capturing live developments as well:

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