On Tuesday, Ukraine's parliament approved the bill minutes after a surprise proposal by one of the leaders of the majority Party of Regions, giving those against the bill little time to cast their ballots.
Opposition leaders tried to physically stop the parliament speaker from announcing the vote. Scuffles soon broke out. Andry Shevchenk, a parliamentary deputy with the opposition Yulia Tymoshenko Party, says he tried to stay to cast his vote.
"We tried to stay here [but] the police just came and tried to push us out from the stairs," he said. "They have several commanders coordinating their action, and they deployed a special police unit in riot helmets. They have orders to throw people from the stairs. It's their task."
International boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, leader of the Udar opposition party, says the vote was not fair.
"If parliament is doing everything against the opinion of the people, then it has no place as a parliament," said Klitschko. The majority of deputies are not in the parliament chamber, he added, and "there is manipulation of votes going on."
Flag This Item