Ukraine Sacking Sparks Protests

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko summoned security ministers yesterday after his dismissal of a top judiciary official spurred angry protests by supporters of his arch-rival, the country’s prime minister.

Riot police stand guard near Ukraine's public prosecutor's office in Kiev May 24, 2007. President Viktor Yushchenko said on Thursday riot police who forced their way into Ukraine's public prosecutor's office had committed a crime and demanded proceedings against whoever issued order to do so.

Ukraine’s interior minister, loyal to Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, described the sacking of prosecutor-general Svyatoslav Piskun as an “attempted coup”.

Yushchenko has been locked in a struggle with Yanukovich over the date of a parliamentary election.

Yanukovich called an emergency meeting of his cabinet after abruptly leaving a meeting of prime ministers of former Soviet states in southern Ukraine.

Piskun, an ally of the prime minister, was sacked only a month after being reinstated.

He summoned supporters to his office after being informed of his dismissal, which followed a dispute over the Constitutional Court, and vowed to resist the order.

Dozens of the prime minister’s supporters shouted slogans outside the prosecutor’s office.

On Wednesday, the pro-western president and the prime minister, long at odds over a division of powers, called for quick action to break a deadlock over the date of a parliamentary poll.

Weeks of talks have produced no agreement.

Yushchenko sacked Piskun in 2005 soon after coming to power to show his displeasure over a failure to solve high-profile cases.

He reinstated Piskun after a court ruling.

Source: Business Day