Jan. 25 - Ukraine demonstrations rage on, despite President Viktor Yanukovich's pledge to reshuffle the government and amend anti-protest laws. Rough Cut (No reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Ukrainians woke up to a ninth weekend of anti-government protests in the capital Kiev on Saturday (January 25), with demonstrators continuing to demand an end to the rule of President Viktor Yanukovich. The protests, which began in November after Yanukovich spurned an association agreement with the European Union in favour of forging closer ties with Russia, are the biggest demonstrations since the 2004-5 Orange Revolution which denied Yanukovich his first bid at the presidency. The demonstrations began peacefully in a central Kiev square two months ago, but have been broken up violently by police at times. In the last week, protesters have set up barricades near Dynamo Kiev football stadium where they hurl Molotov cocktails at police and burn tyres. Yanukovich, in what appeared to be an offer of concessions to the opposition, pledged on Friday (January 24) to reshuffle the government next week and to amend sweeping anti-protest laws rammed through parliament by his Party of the Regions deputies. He gave no indication of how wide the government reshuffle would be, and it was by no means certain Prime Minister Mykola Azarov or any other key figures would step down. Emboldened protesters say nothing short of Yanukovich's resignation will bring their demonstrations to an end. The dismissal of the Azarov government has been one of the main demands of the opposition and Yanukovich's words were clearly intended to look like a concession to opponents who have voiced frustration at what they see are his stalling tactics in talks until now. The protesters control key parts of the city centre, including its main Independence Square. More than 100 people have been detained in the unrest, including 24 formally arrested, according to police.