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Kiev Promises to Follow up Arrests of Protesting Miners With Criminal Charges

Ukraine Interior Minister has accused miners who protested last week in Kiev of being on the payroll of "some indecent political forces and certain oligarchs"

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KIEV, April 27, (TASS) - Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said a number of miners, protesting in the country’s capital of Kiev since last week, has been arrested, but did not specify the number.

"We have launched a number of criminal cases and there are people arrested," Avakov said in an interview with Ukraine’s Channel Five television channel. "The detained are those violating public order and resisting police officers."

The minister said half of the protesting miners were people hired by the organizers of the rally.

Last week, Ukrainian coal miners stages several protest rallies in Kiev and announced an open-ended strike demanding repayment of delayed wages and resignation of Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Vladimir Demchishin.

Earlier, President Pyotr Poroshenko said there were forces seeking use miners’ protests in their selfish interests and called on the authorities not to let them do that. "It is advantageous for some indecent political forces and certain oligarchs," he said, adding he had instructed law enforcement agencies to bring to answer those responsible.

However, the president admitted that miners had a right to express their protest. He said he had ordered to amend the budget to allocate 400 million hryvnias (17.7 million U.S. dollars) to repay wage arrears to miners.

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