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Kiev Prosecutor Wants Klitschko to Clear Maidan of Protesters

People gather in Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) to celebrate a free-trade agreement between Ukraine and the European Union in central Kiev, Ukraine.

Kiev's prosecutor has called on city authorities to clear the Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square, and surrounding buildings of any remaining protesters, the National News Agency of Ukraine reported Thursday.

Demonstrators have occupied the square since November last year, when a wave of protests began that eventually toppled the country's government.

"I have appealed to Yury Moroz, the head of the Kiev branch of the Interior Ministry, and to Mayor Vitaly Klitschko to take immediate measures to clear occupied administrative buildings and transport connections in the city center," Sergei Yudalshev said.

Yudalshev joins other Ukrainian authorities, including Prosecutor General Vitaly Yarema, in calling for the removal of protesters.

According to Yarema, local police have recorded four fatal assaults and more than 10 armed robberies in the area since April. Yarema added that 19 buildings remained occupied by protesters and that since Feb. 20 — two days prior to the ouster of former President Viktor Yanukovych — 158 criminal cases related to violations of public order on the square had been launched.

"Unfortunately, downtown Kiev is not safe for Kievans," Klitschko said Monday, according to the National News Agency of Ukraine. "People are always complaining that they repeatedly hear gunshots and explosions [coming from Maidan]."

Yarema did not rule out resorting to force to clear the remaining occupants of the square, saying that those who refused to leave would be "evicted in a legitimate way" and that their presence was discrediting the initial protest movement on Maidan.

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