Ukraine’s opposition lawmakers block parliament over government’s austerity plansBy AP
Friday, September 10, 2010
Ukraine’s opposition blocks parliament doors
KIEV, Ukraine — Opposition deputies in Ukraine’s notoriously unruly parliament are blocking doors to the chamber with chairs as a protest against austerity measures.
The Verkhovna Rada sees frequent clashes between members that go far beyond rhetoric. Lawmakers kicked and punched each other on Tuesday as opposition deputies tried to seize control of the speaker’s podium. Dissenters sometimes break the electronic vote-tallying machine, and in a session this spring the parliament speaker stood shielded by umbrellas as opponents threw eggs and smoke bombs.
Friday’s action was to protest the moves by President Viktor Yanukovych’s government to double household gas prices and raise women’s retirement age from 55 to 60.
Both moves were key conditions of the International Monetary Fund to approve a $15 billion crisis loan.