Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that political slogans, rather than the voices of farmers were heard during a rally against the opening of the land market outside the building of the Verkhovna Rada on December 17.
“Everyone has the right to a peaceful assembly. Everyone has the right to express an opinion. And everyone has to bear responsibility if others are affected by his or her actions. Discussions on legislative initiatives should not violate the law. I respect the opinion of Ukrainians. We have been listening to proposals for reforms for months. However, political slogans, rather than the voices of farmers are heard at a rally regarding the land law. Both protesters and police officers suffered because of them,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
He added that the authorities were introducing amendments to the land law between the first and second readings, based on discussions with Ukrainians. “If we want a better life, then we must learn to speak, respect each other, and live together after all. The authorities, as promised, are introducing amendments to the land law between the first and second readings on the basis of discussions with Ukrainians. We will listen to people,” Zelensky said.
Protest rallies, including against the opening of the land market in Ukraine, were held in Kyiv’s government quarter on December 17. Protesters tried to put up tents on the road on Hrushevskoho Street, which triggered clashes with police.
Representatives of the National Corps hurled stones and smoke bombs at police officers near the parliament.
According to Kyiv police chief Andriy Kryshchenko, up to 500 people were involved in the scuffle.
Seventeen police officers and journalists were injured. Emergency response teams of the Ukrainian Red Cross Society provided medical assistance to 16 victims.
Law enforcement officers detained 26 people. However, the detainees were released in the evening.
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