Ukraine: Protesters leave justice ministry after threat

Opposition agree to continue talks with government despite news of another death in Kiev

LAST UPDATED AT 15:56 ON Mon 27 Jan 2014

FEARS that a state of emergency would be declared in Ukraine appear to have been headed off after anti-government protesters agreed to leave the justice ministry building in central Kiev, the BBC reports. 

Earlier today, justice minister Olena Lukash threatened to call state of emergency unless protesters ended the occupation. A spokesperson for opposition groups said the protesters backed down because they "did not want to provoke the authorities".

Opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko also called on the protesters to leave. According to Russia Today, the former boxer said he wanted a political solution to the crisis and told protesters to avoid violent confrontations.

The building had been occupied since Sunday night. One protester told Reuters that it was a "symbolic act", adding that the ministry had been "stripped of justice".

In a statement issued by the National Resistance Headquarters, opposition groups said they agreed to continue talks with the government in order to prevent further bloodshed.

They said they were willing to negotiate "despite an attempt by the authorities to abandon the negotiations and declare a state of emergency".

Meanwhile, there are reports that the body of a 55-year old man has been found hanging from a large artificial tree in Kiev's Independence Square. The structure has become the symbol of anti-government resistance.

Reuters reports that the discovery of the body was "especially bizarre" due to the constant presence of thousands of activists in the Square since the protests began last year.

The opposition claims that as many as six people have died during the ongoing protests. · 

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