02:14 24.01.2014

No dispersal of Maidan, no persecution if protesters go away - Interior Minister's official statement

Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko says that police will not clear Kyiv's Independence Square.

"I guarantee that the police will not take forceful action to clear Independence Square," Zakharchenko said in a statement addressed to law enforcement agencies, which was posted on the ministry's Web site in the early hours of Friday.

The minister said that the Prosecutor General's Office had earlier addressed protesters, pledging no persecution if those on Hrushevskoho Street leave the site of violent clashes.

The minister also called on police officers to be reserved and not to react to minor provocations.

"I urge you, dear colleagues, to keep calm and not to respond to minor provocations and keep your temper," Zakharchenko said.

He also expressed hope that both sides' wisdom would overcome emotions and result in an end to the stand-off that no one needs.

Earlier, the Prosecutor General's Office reported that prosecutors would ask courts to soften measures of restraint for those who have already been arrested for participation in riots, and those who have been waiting for a verdict will be able to avoid arrest if protesters cease the stand-off in Kyiv.

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