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You're reading: Opposition defenders of Ukrainian language picket Verkhovna Rada

The Batkivschyna Party and Svoboda All-Ukrainian Union have held a picketing outside the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, where a special session had started at 10 a.m.

The opposition formed a live chain from European Square along
Hrushevskoho Street and Shovkovychna Street. The protesters stood on the
sidewalk and did not impede traffic.

Plenty of policemen and Berkut special unit officers have been deployed in the Verkhovna Rada yard.

Meanwhile, the Regions Party deputies had occupied the parliament
presidium and rostrum before the session began. The Regions Party
deputies also stayed in the governmental box, while others stood around
the parliament rostrum, an Interfax-Ukraine reporter said.

Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn said earlier the special session’s agenda
included several draft resolutions on re-voting the bill on the
principles of the state language policy.

The Verkhovna Rada passed the bill initiated by the Regions Party on
July 3 to strengthen the position of Russian and other national minority
languages in the areas where national minorities constitute 10% or more
of the population.

The opposition alleged numerous violations in the adoption of the
bill. Lytvyn and his deputy Mykola Tomenko tendered their resignations
on July 4.

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