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Ukraine protesters vacate city hall after 3 months of occupation

By Victoria Butenko, CNN
February 17, 2014 -- Updated 1140 GMT (1940 HKT)
Protesters in Kiev, Ukraine, clash with police in Independence Square on Wednesday, February 19. Thousands of anti-government demonstrators have packed the square since November, when President Viktor Yanukovych reversed a decision on a trade deal with the European Union and instead turned toward Russia. Protesters in Kiev, Ukraine, clash with police in Independence Square on Wednesday, February 19. Thousands of anti-government demonstrators have packed the square since November, when President Viktor Yanukovych reversed a decision on a trade deal with the European Union and instead turned toward Russia.
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Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Photos: Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
Ukraine protests turn deadly
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • In exchange, the government will drop charges against arrested protesters
  • Ukraine is mired in a political crisis that has led to the Prime Minister's resignation
  • The opposition wants more concessions from the government

(CNN) -- Ukrainian protesters vacated the capital's city hall Sunday in exchange for the government dropping charges against arrested demonstrators, an official said.

Protesters vacated city hall, unblocked a major street and left other government buildings as part of an amnesty deal calling for the opposition to vacate government buildings in Kiev, opposition parliament member Arsen Avakov said.

They had occupied the city hall for nearly three months.

Protesters will remain outside city hall and will not allow police inside, he said. The opposition plans to hold a rally Sunday morning.

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Ukraine is mired in a political crisis that has led to the Prime Minister's resignation.

Thousands of demonstrators have packed Kiev's Independence Square since November, when President Viktor Yanukovych reversed a decision to sign a trade deal with the European Union and instead turned toward Russia.

Violent confrontations flared after a sweeping anti-protest law was signed weeks ago, and an uneasy standoff remains on the streets.

Despite concessions such as the deal, Ukraine's opposition parties continue to call for constitutional reforms to shift power away from the president.

Ukraine, a country of 45 million people, is split between pro-European regions in the West and a more Russia-oriented East.

Its leader and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on a $15 billion deal for Russia to buy Ukrainian debt and slash the price of natural gas.

Yanukovych has resisted calls for him to step down and defended the government's handling of the political crisis.

READ: East vs West -- What's behind Ukraine's political crisis?

READ: Opinion: Why Ukraine's future lies with the EU, not Russia

READ: Ukraine protests: 5 things you need to know

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