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Yulia Tymoshenko supporters' tent camp in Kiev

RIA Novosti

06:56 07/08/2011

KIEV, August 7 (RIA Novosti) - A Ukrainian court in Kiev ruled on Sunday to prohibit mass demonstrations at places where supporters of the country's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko have been gathering in protest against her arrest.

Tymoshenko supporters set up tent camps at the Pechyorsky Court, which ruled on Friday to arrest the former premier, and a pretrial detention center where Tymoshenko is being held.

The court banned on Sunday mass gatherings at the sites till August 31, satisfying a lawsuit filed by the Kiev Mayor's Office. The ruling can be appealed against within 10 days.

Five buses carrying special police officers have arrived at the Pechorsky Court. Several opposition lawmakers who are among the protesters at the tent camp have declared their tents "public audience rooms" which cannot be dismantled under the court ruling.

Police have cordonned off the area, separating Tymoshenko supporters from her opponents who have also been gathering at the court.

The Pechyorsky court satisfied on Friday a request by a prosecutor to arrest Tymoshenko, who has been prosecuted for signing a 2009 gas contract with Russia, rather than just maintain a current ban on her traveling outside Kiev, citing repeated violations of court order by the defendant.

Kiev has accused Tymoshenko, currently Ukraine's opposition leader, of signing the gas deal, which was disadvantageous to the country, without approval from her government. Tymoshenko has dismissed the charges as "politically motivated," saying she is being targeted for opposing President Viktor Yanukovych, who narrowly beat her in the presidential election in February 2010.

In late July, the court rejected a previous request by the prosecutor to arrest the former premier.

Tymoshenko's lawyer, Yury Sukhov, said he would appeal her arrest on Monday.

Human right groups, including Washington-based Freedom House, have denounced Tymoshenko's arrest.

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