Ukrainian protestors occupy government buildings

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Ukrainian protestors occupy government buildings
Protesters clean tires from the street as Orthodox priests pray standing between pro-European Union activists and police lines in central Kiev, Ukraine, early Friday, Jan. 24, 2014. A top Ukrainian opposition leader on Thursday urged protesters to maintain a shaky cease-fire with police after at least two demonstrators were killed in clashes this week, but some in the crowd appeared defiant, jeering and chanting "revolution" and "shame." (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
An Orthodox priest prays in front of police officers as they block a street after clashes in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. City health officials and police said that two people died of gunshot wounds during the clashes Wednesday morning. But the opposition charges that as many as five people have died. The mass protests in the capital of Kiev erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
FILE - In this file photo taken on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, A protester points a handgun during a clash with police in central Kiev, Ukraine. Three people have died in clashes between protesters and police in the Ukrainian capital Wednesday, according to medics on the site, in a development that will likely escalate Ukraine's two month-long political crisis. The mass protests in the capital of Kiev erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, file)
Ukrainian women urge riot police to stop the violence as they stand outside a government district in central Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Jan. 24, 2014. At the barricades Friday outside a government district in Kiev where fires had raged and rocks and grenades flew for days dozens of middle-aged women approached police lines shouting ?You are our children!? and ?No more mothers? tears!?. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Protesters guard the barricades near the entrance to the stadium of Dynamo Kyiv soccer club in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Jan. 24, 2014. Protesters have seized a government building in the Ukrainian capital while also maintaining the siege of several governors' offices in the country's west, raising the pressure on the government. After meeting with President Viktor Yanukovych on Thursday, opposition leaders told the crowds that he has promised to ensure the release of dozens of protesters detained after clashes with police and stop further detentions. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Protesters clash with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday Jan. 23, 2014. Thick black smoke from burning tires engulfed parts of downtown Kiev, as an ultimatum issued by the opposition to the president to call early election or face street rage was set to expire with no sign of a compromise on Thursday. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
Protesters carry tyres onto a fire during a clash with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014. Thick black smoke from burning tires engulfed parts of downtown Kiev as an ultimatum issued by the opposition to the president to call early election or face street rage was set to expire with no sign of a compromise on Thursday. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Protesters use a large slingshot to hurl rocks at police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014. Thick black smoke from burning tires engulfed the downtown Ukrainian capital as an ultimatum issued by the opposition to the president to call early election or face street rage was set to expire with no sign of a compromise. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
A protesters throws stone during clashes with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. Two people have died in clashes between protesters and police in the Ukrainian capital Wednesday, according to medics on the site, in a development that will likely escalate Ukraine's two month-long political crisis. The mass protests in the capital of Kiev erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
A protester throws a Molotov cocktail during clashes with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. City health officials and police said that two people died of gunshot wounds during the clashes Wednesday morning. But the opposition charges that as many as five people have died. The mass protests in the capital of Kiev erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
KIEV, UKRAINE - JANUARY 24: Policemen on duty near Dynamo Stadium on January 24, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine. Talks to resolve the political stalemate in the Ukraine have failed as anti government protests continue in the capital and opposition leader Vitali Klitschko urges the government to call a snap election. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
KIEV, UKRAINE - JANUARY 24: Molotov cocktails prepared by anti-government protestors are seen in a tyre wall near Dynamo Stadium on January 24, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine. Talks to resolve the political stalemate in the Ukraine have failed as anti government protests continue in the capital and opposition leader Vitali Klitschko urges the government to call a snap election. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
KIEV, UKRAINE - JANUARY 24: Protestors armed with metal shields prepare to march from Independence Square on January 24, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine. Talks to resolve the political stalemate in Ukraine have failed as anti-government protests continue in the capital and opposition leader Vitali Klitschko urges the government to call a snap election. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)
KIEV, UKRAINE - JANUARY 23: Ukrainian police intervenes demonstrators, protesting the government's anti-protest law in Kiev, Ukraine, on January 23, 2014. Ukraine has been witnessing anti-government protests since Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych refrained from signing an association agreement with European Union in November last year, in favor of closer ties with Russia. (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KIEV, UKRAINE - JANUARY 22: Ukrainian protesters shoot with a help of petards amongst burning automobile tires during a mass action of opposition on Grushevsky street against laws recently accepted by the Verkhovna Rada that toughen requirements to carrying out mass meetings and restrict journalists activity, on January 22, 2014 in Kiev, Ukraine. (Photo by Kirill Chubotin/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images)
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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Protesters on Friday seized a government building in the Ukrainian capital while also maintaining their siege of several governors' offices in the country's west, raising the pressure on the government.

After meeting with President Viktor Yanukovych for several hours late Thursday, opposition leaders told the crowds that he had promised to ensure the release of dozens of protesters detained after clashes with police, and stop further detentions. They urged the protesters to maintain a shaky truce following violent street battles in the capital, but were booed by demonstrators eager to resume clashes with police.

The truce has held, but early Friday protesters broke into the downtown building of the Ministry of Agricultural Policy, meeting no resistance. "We need to keep people warm in the frost," said one of the protesters, Andriy Moiseenko. "We cannot have people sleeping in tents all the time."

The demonstrators allowed ministry workers to take their possessions, but wouldn't allow them to go to work.

The move followed the seizure of local governors' offices in several western regions on Thursday.

Ukraine Violence Rises As Ultimatum Nears End

In Lviv, near the Polish border, some 450 kilometers (280 miles) west of Kiev, hundreds of activists burst into the office of the regional governor, Oleh Salo, a Yanukovych appointee, shouting "Revolution!" They forced a local governor to sign a resignation letter and remained in the building, refusing to let the workers in.

Protesters also have retained control of offices in four other western cities seized Thursday, though they suffered a setback in Cherkasy, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of Kiev, where police barricaded the governor's building from inside and prevented them from taking control. Police reinforcements arrived later, dispersing the protesters and arresting several dozen of them.

Yanukovych, meanwhile, called an emergency session of parliament - which is controlled by his loyalists - next week to discuss the tensions. It wasn't clear if Yanukovych's move Thursday reflected his intention to bow to some of the protesters' demands, or was just an attempt to buy some time and try to ease tensions.

His Interior Minister Vitali Zakharchenko issued a statement late Thursday guaranteeing that police would not take action against the large protest camp on Independence Square, known as the Maidan. He also urged police not to react to provocations.

The demonstrations began two months ago after Yanukovych abruptly ditched an association agreement with the European Union in favor of a bailout loan from Russia. The protests have been largely peaceful, but they turned violent Sunday after Yanukovych pushed through harsh anti-protest laws and stonewalled protesters' demands that he call new elections.

Two people were fatally shot in the clashes Wednesday, the first deaths since the protest began, fueling fears of further escalation. The opposition has blamed the deaths on authorities, but Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said Thursday that the two men's wounds were caused by hunting rifles, which the police do not possess.

The opposition claimed that as many as five protesters were killed in Wednesday's clashes, though they said they have no evidence because the bodies were removed by authorities.

Opposition leaders had earlier set a Thursday evening deadline for the government to make concessions or face renewed clashes, but then pleaded with the crowds to extend the truce, even though the talks with Yanukovych brought little visible progress and there was no word about meeting the main protesters' demand for early elections.

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