International

Ukraine's parliament rejects no-confidence vote amid swelling protests

The vote could have quelled tensions between protesters and government

Ukraine
The Ukrainian parliament after the government survived a no-confidence vote.
Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images

Ukraine's parliament has rejected a motion to hold a no-confidence vote against the prime minister, who is allied with President Viktor Yanukovych, leaving the country's political tensions unresolved.

The motion on Tuesday fell short of the 226 votes required to oust Prime Minister Mykola Azarov over Ukraine's refusal to sign a historic European Union trade and political pact and instead more closely align with Russia.

Azarov had warned that the anti-government demonstrations in the capital, Kiev, are getting "out of control" and could turn into a coup.

Earlier, Al Jazeera's Rory Challands, reporting from Kiev, said the debate in parliament had descended into "shouting and shoving" between administration and opposition politicians.

Opposition members shouted "shame" and "revolution" as pro-government lawmakers spoke, while opposition speakers drew boos and jeers.

Outside, demonstrations continued as thousands blockaded main government buildings, protesting Yanukovych's failure to sign the E.U. pact.

"Blocking the work of state institutions is not a peaceful demonstration. This has all the signs of a coup," Azarov told ambassadors from the European Union, Canada and the United States. "That is very serious."

Over the weekend, police forced protesters off Independence Square in central Kiev, injuring nearly 200 people, including journalists.

Western leaders condemned the Ukrainian government for the crackdown. Lithuania, the current European Union chair, launched a probe into the government's handling of the protests.

Azarov said Ukraine's authorities were "ready for dialogue" with the protesters and said that "the authorities are guaranteeing non-use of force against peaceful protesters."

But Al Jazeera's David Charter, reporting from Kiev, said the government had ordered 1,000 Interior Ministry troops to secure government buildings as the number of protesters grew.

"The blockade is severely disrupting the process of government here," he said. "Essentially, President Yanukovich has lost control of the center of Kiev."

Al Jazeera and wire services

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