Ukraine bans protest as parliament turns into brawl

posted at 3:21 pm on January 16, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Looks like the tensions in Ukraine have turned from bad to worse. With the government of Viktor Yanukovich embarrassed by thriving demonstrations in the capital — reminiscent of an earlier political failure — over his turn toward Russia rather than the West, the Ukrainian parliament passed a ban on outdoor demonstrations.

Yeah, that’ll stop them:

 Supporters of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich rammed a sweeping law through parliament on Thursday in an attempt to curb anti-government protests, sparking an outcry from the opposition and raising tensions on the streets.

The law, backed by 235 of 450 lawmakers, said unauthorized installation of tents, stages or amplifiers in public places in Ukraine would be punished by a fine of up to $640 or by up to 15 days in detention.

People and organizations who provided facilities or equipment for unauthorized meetings would be liable to a fine of up $1,275 or by detention of up to 10 days.

Yanukovich’s refusal in November to sign a free trade deal with the European Union in favor of boosting ties with Ukraine’s former Soviet master Russia brought hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians out on to the streets in protest.

Thus the turn toward Russia and Vladimir Putin continues. Until recently, this was a rational economic dispute, with valid arguments going either direction on Yanukovich’s decision to snub the EU in favor of Russia. It turned much darker, though, when Yanukovich threatened to shut down the entire Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church if priests continued to offer prayers and religious services in tents around Independence Square.

This development is just as provocative, and just as indicative of the nature of Yanukovich and his supporters. They want to rule, not govern, and want to silence dissent. That echoes the authoritarian environment in Russia, and should remind Ukrainians of the definitely-not-good-old-days of Soviet domination.

Yanukovich still has to sign the bills, and Bloomberg warns what will happen when he does:

As scuffles between lawmakers left one with a split lip and another with an injured forehead, bills were approved to keep closer tabs on mobile-phone use and make actions such as putting up tents in public places illegal. Parliament had originally convened to discuss the 2014 budget, which was adopted without debate as opposition parties sought to block the session.

The new laws, which require President Viktor Yanukovych’s signature, risk inflaming street rallies that began two months ago when the government snubbed a European Union co-operation pact in favor of closer ties with Russia. Demonstrators demanding the dismissal of the government and snap elections have vowed to maintain their makeshift tent camp in downtown Independence Square until presidential elections next March.

“The laws are aimed at resolving the political crisis by using police methods and neutralizing the activists,” said Volodymyr Fesenko, head of the Penta Political Analysis Center in the capital, Kiev. “The opposition and demonstrators should firmly demand that the president doesn’t sign them.”

Yanukovich’s supporters in the parliament didn’t brawl to produce bills he didn’t want in the first place. The Guardian has pictures from the fight. If they have blood on their hands from the fistfight, just hope that passing this bill won’t produce a deluge more of it on the streets.


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Can’t wait for the US Senate to devolve into chaos like this!!!!

redguy on January 16, 2014 at 3:25 PM

IDK how Ukrainians would want to fall back under Russian control considering how many were starved and slaughtered at their hand.

Murphy9 on January 16, 2014 at 3:27 PM

Yanukovich’s supporters in the parliament didn’t brawl to produce bills he didn’t want in the first place. The Guardian has pictures from the fight. If they have blood on their hands from the fistfight, just hope that passing this bill won’t produce a deluge more of it on the streets.


Ever heard of the American Revolutionary War, Ed?

Or the quote, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” – Thomas Jefferson

Why EXACTLY would we want the Ukrainian people to meekly accept this new tyranny?

And here we’ve been thinking AP was the milque toast squish on Hot Air.</em

PolAgnostic on January 16, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Yanukocich is a convicted felon and Russian toady. Even pro-Russian sympathyzers in Ukraine do not like the guy.

I think he has overreached with this and is going to learn a hard lesson.

Spots the Dog on January 16, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Russian tanks (whether invited by Yanukovich or not) in the streets of Kiev? Yeah, I can see that. Prague Kiev Spring.

Ward Cleaver on January 16, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Obama and the gang are hoping for this to happen here. You know what’s coming:
Yanukovich will sign the bills. The protests will continue. They will try to enforce the bills, clashes, riots. The military will be called out.

And Yanukovich is hoping that then he can declare a “State of Emergency” and be done with democracy.

Obama wants to ride the same tiger, you know it.

It doesn’t work if there is a great enough number of people who will risk being shot, though.

I have faith in the Ukranians. They remember oppressive Russians. I don’t know about Americans though.

Vanceone on January 16, 2014 at 3:33 PM

I guess the serfs in Ukraine have noticed how Estonia has rocketed past the US in economic freedoms while the US has rocketed towards communism and bread lines under King Putt.

viking01 on January 16, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Putin pulling the strings trying to get the old USSR back together again. Putin making his next move…he went to Hungary and gave them billions to build a nuke plant…
Putin wants them “Back in the USSR”….

albill on January 16, 2014 at 3:36 PM

EU and USA gazing at their navels…

albill on January 16, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Best Taiwanese Parliament Fights–accept no substitutes.

Christien on January 16, 2014 at 3:39 PM

IDK how Ukrainians would want to fall back under Russian control considering how many were starved and slaughtered at their hand.

Murphy9 on January 16, 2014 at 3:27 PM

The country is divided into roughly two segments, Ukrainian and Russian speakers. The Russian speakers naturally want closer ties with Russia. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/12/09/this-one-map-helps-explain-ukraines-protests/

Doomberg on January 16, 2014 at 3:40 PM

They got their own “Free Speech Zones™.”

Murphy9 on January 16, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Its A Ballroom Blitz!!!!

canopfor on January 16, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Does this Yanukovych remind you of anybody?

VorDaj on January 16, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Obama and the gang are hoping for this to happen here. You know what’s coming:
Yanukovich will sign the bills. The protests will continue. They will try to enforce the bills, clashes, riots. The military will be called out.

And Yanukovich is hoping that then he can declare a “State of Emergency” and be done with democracy.

Obama wants to ride the same tiger, you know it.

It doesn’t work if there is a great enough number of people who will risk being shot, though.

I have faith in the Ukranians. They remember oppressive Russians. I don’t know about Americans though.

Vanceone on January 16, 2014 at 3:33 PM

http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/ukraine

The estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in Ukraine is 3,100,000

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Ukraine is 6.61 firearms per 100 people.

http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/united-states

The estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in the United States is 270,000,0001 to 310,000,000.

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in the United States is 101.052 3 1 firearms per 100 people.

This is why Obama would be foolish to ride the tiger. He would be eaten alive.

redguy on January 16, 2014 at 3:47 PM

Speaking of tyrants ;->

Hillary Fired For “Lying, Unethical Behavior” on Watergate Committee

… and/or stories you may never see Hot Air cover.

PolAgnostic on January 16, 2014 at 3:52 PM

So Obama would be foolish to ride the tiger.

Does anything about him strike you as him having wisdom? And he’s got an awful lot of sympathizers, and lots of them own guns too.

And you know the US military has lots of WMD’s that Obama wouldn’t hesitate to use on US citizens. Killing civilians is only a concern when they are foreign civilians.

Vanceone on January 16, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Obama’s world chaos mission is almost complete.

portlandon on January 16, 2014 at 3:58 PM

That’s one nasty cut that guy took to the forehead.

Bitter Clinger on January 16, 2014 at 3:59 PM

So Obama would be foolish to ride the tiger.

Does anything about him strike you as him having wisdom? And he’s got an awful lot of sympathizers, and lots of them own guns too.

And you know the US military has lots of WMD’s that Obama wouldn’t hesitate to use on US citizens. Killing civilians is only a concern when they are foreign civilians.

Vanceone on January 16, 2014 at 3:54 PM


Oh, goody
… another leap into the martial law abyss. I keep this on file to simplify my response.

While I share your deep distrust of Obama and everyone in his administration, I will reiterate the statement I have made on here every time the “martial law et al” meme is put forward.

I have never know an military or LEO personnel willing to take on odds of 100:1 against them – including recent SOCOM members. The bulk of the people I know in both communities are NOT Obama supporters. The other fallacy in this statement is the complete lack of understanding of the logistics required to enable it.

Any attempt to exert large scale martial law on this country will result in a short, widespread spasm of violence which will make the Civil War look like a Sunday picnic. The societal “earthquake” would be so great the “lucky” supporters of such a coup d’etat will be the ones who escape to Canada.

A more real world fear is the global economic collapse the central banks have brought us to the brink of through endless debt creation. The collapse of the global economy will bring with it a long period of regional wars, widespread famine and pandemics. The world will look back to the period prior to 2008 as “the Golden Age”.

PolAgnostic on November 7, 2013 at 4:54 PM

PolAgnostic on January 16, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Best Taiwanese Parliament Fights–accept no substitutes.

Christien on January 16, 2014 at 3:39 PM

Admit it. We’d all love to see a WWE smackdown on the floor of the Senate.

Wouldn’t it be glorious to see Ted Cruz with Harry Reid in a headlock pummeling ole Harry’s gob!

NavyMustang on January 16, 2014 at 4:08 PM

NavyMustang on January 16, 2014 at 4:08 PM

Forget the headlock. Go straight for The People’s Elbow.

Christien on January 16, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Wouldn’t it be glorious to see Ted Cruz with Harry Reid in a headlock pummeling ole Harry’s gob!

NavyMustang on January 16, 2014 at 4:08 PM

.
Ted’s smarter than that … he’d knee Harry in the groin and then do a leg sweep when McCain tries to rescue his leader.

PolAgnostic on January 16, 2014 at 4:15 PM

So Obama would be foolish to ride the tiger.

Does anything about him strike you as him having wisdom? And he’s got an awful lot of sympathizers, and lots of them own guns too.

And you know the US military has lots of WMD’s that Obama wouldn’t hesitate to use on US citizens. Killing civilians is only a concern when they are foreign civilians.

Vanceone on January 16, 2014 at 3:54 PM

Obama would have to modify the ROE if he wanted to put down American citizens.

Not sure if our military would follow the Marxist Obama to that extreme.

Why do you think Obama has been purging the military?

redguy on January 16, 2014 at 4:17 PM

Ted’s smarter than that … he’d knee Harry in the groin and then do a leg sweep when McCain tries to rescue his leader.

PolAgnostic on January 16, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Oh, YES! I would pay good money to see THAT!

NavyMustang on January 16, 2014 at 4:19 PM

Can’t wait for the US Senate to devolve into chaos like this!!!!

redguy on January 16, 2014 at 3:25 PM

Lots of sissy fights and slaps if that ever happened…

nextgen_repub on January 16, 2014 at 4:20 PM

So Obama would be foolish to ride the tiger.

Does anything about him strike you as him having wisdom?

I forgot to add…..

No – the words wisdom and Obama don’t belong in the same sentence…..

It would be more than likely that the military would save it’s ammo to use on Obama than the American people if push comes to shove.

redguy on January 16, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Look to me like, if they want to reduce the violence in their national debate, it’s the legislature that should be shut down, not the protestsers.

Socratease on January 16, 2014 at 4:23 PM

Obama doesn’t NEED the regular military–he’d just send them home one day and lock up the barracks. He’s got Homeland security, remember? Plus all the other agencies. And while it’s true that most military types wouldn’t follow him–some would. They’d be given the weapons.

Besides, I’m thinking that Obama isn’t worried about full scale rebellion–he’s thinking the populace is too willing to give in to actually care. And he’s not likely to just march into the Senate Chamber in a funky military uniform and start arresting people. It would be done on the sly.

Vanceone on January 16, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Obama doesn’t NEED the regular military–he’d just send them home one day and lock up the barracks. He’s got Homeland security, remember? Plus all the other agencies. And while it’s true that most military types wouldn’t follow him–some would. They’d be given the weapons.

Besides, I’m thinking that Obama isn’t worried about full scale rebellion–he’s thinking the populace is too willing to give in to actually care. And he’s not likely to just march into the Senate Chamber in a funky military uniform and start arresting people. It would be done on the sly.

Vanceone on January 16, 2014 at 5:01 PM

.
Let’s just hit the highlights you and everyone who goes down this path ignores:

1) Logistics
2) Security
3) Reality

If any of the three items above have to be explained to you, you have NO knowledge to base your fears upon.

Google is your friend. The internet went through all of this a year ago – there were a LOT of intelligent deconstructions of the “Obama coup d’etat” done at that time by people who REALLY know this stuff. Look them up.

PolAgnostic on January 16, 2014 at 5:24 PM

It’s just a flesh wound…

Galtian on January 16, 2014 at 6:21 PM

Can’t wait for the US Senate to devolve into chaos like this!!!!

redguy on January 16, 2014 at 3:25 PM

Lots of sissy fights and slaps if that ever happened…

nextgen_repub on January 16, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Miss Lindsey missed his best chance to pull Bawney Fwank’s hair.

viking01 on January 16, 2014 at 6:23 PM

I thought Parliament broke up when George Clinton and Bootsy left?

—– Barky Hussein the Vacationer

viking01 on January 16, 2014 at 6:26 PM

“And unhappiness. We hereby FORBID the proletariat to be unhappy with us!”
Good plan, President Thug-ovich. What could possibly go wrong?
With any luck: Everything.

Looking forward to seeing your head as a decorative ornament, on a public building.
Soon.

orangemtl on January 16, 2014 at 6:27 PM

The Ukrainian people voted Yanukovich back into power AFTER the learned what he and his cronies were really like after the 2004 Orange Revolution. New new democratic government of Viktor Yuschenko and Yulia Tymoshenko got barely a year before Yanukovich’s Party of Regions won the 2006 Parliamentary vote.

Voting requires responsibility. Can we really be sure, if the opposition somehow prevails here, that Yanukovich or his party won’t just be voted back into power again before long when the opposition fails to turn everything around in a matter of months or 1 year?

I have less sympathy than I did in 2004. It’s the same story in Egypt. I have no interest in defending groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, but the people knew what they were when they voted for them, and sure enough they ended up doing what they said they’d do. Nothing Morsi did came as a surprise if you paid any attention.

Of course, our country is not immune from the problem of people not paying any attention during elections either.

datroy on January 16, 2014 at 7:13 PM

That echoes the authoritarian environment in Russia, and should remind Ukrainians of the definitely-not-good-old-days of Soviet domination.

Particularly as most in the ruling parties of Ukraine and Russia are old Communist party hacks that switched formal affiliation and survived the fall of the USSR with their corrupt government influence well intact. Same thugs, different label.

2 good Ukraine posts in as many days! Excellent, EM.

Gingotts on January 16, 2014 at 8:17 PM

Obama doesn’t NEED the regular military–he’d just send them home one day and lock up the barracks. He’s got Homeland security, remember? Plus all the other agencies. And while it’s true that most military types wouldn’t follow him–some would. They’d be given the weapons.

Vanceone on January 16, 2014 at 5:01 PM

This is where it’s going to come at us. A bunch of unkempt thugs and bullies. Plus Eric’s people in the NBPP & NOI will be given charter to keep the peace on the plantation

AH_C on January 16, 2014 at 8:25 PM