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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

20,000 Demand Kuchma's Ouster

APThousands of protesters rallying on European Square in downtown Kiev on Saturday.
KIEV -- Tens of thousands of protesters laid out their charges against Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma at a "people's tribunal" Saturday, and opposition lawmakers said prosecutors promised to review their complaints.

Some 20,000 protesters stood for hours in the cold on Kiev's European Square, waving banners and chanting "Away with Kuchma!" Opposition leaders later led about half the demonstrators through downtown Kiev to the Prosecutor General's Office, where they presented their demand that Kuchma be brought to trial.

Opposition groups and millions of rank-and-file Ukrainians accuse Kuchma's administration of corruption, chronic abuse of office and vote rigging.

A freelance radio journalist, Oleh Zavada, was severely beaten by plainclothes police officers before the protest began, witnesses said. Zavada bumped into an officer who was taking photographs, prompting them to beat him.

The rally -- led by former Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko and Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz -- was the second mass demonstration against Kuchma in a month. It came a day before the arrival of a U.S.-British team to investigate whether Ukraine sold radar systems to Iraq with Kuchma's blessing.

After the protesters marched to the prosecutor's office, a group of lawmakers met with a deputy prosecutor. Lawmaker Oleksandr Turchynov said they were promised that prosecutors would review the opposition's complaint and decide whether to open a criminal case against Kuchma within 10 days.