Ukraine police clash with Kiev crowd over language law
Police in Ukraine's capital Kiev have fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters angry over a new language law that boosts the status of Russian.
The clashes erupted outside a building where President Viktor Yanukovych was scheduled to give a speech.
The new law, drafted by Mr Yanukovych's Party of the Regions, was adopted by parliament on Tuesday without a debate on numerous amendments.
That prompted a request from Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn to step down.
Mr Lytvyn's deputy Mykola Tomenko also tendered his resignation.
The second reading vote took place on Tuesday despite scuffles in the chamber between the ruling party and opposition MPs.
The bill grants Russian, mother tongue of most people in east and south Ukraine, "regional language" status.
Critics fear it will dilute Ukraine's sovereignty and help return Ukraine to Moscow's sphere of influence.
While Ukrainian would remain the country's official language, Russian could be used in courts, hospitals, schools and other institutions in Russian-speaking regions.
The bill will become law once signed off by President Yanukovych, who is seen by his critics as being close to Moscow.
Mr Yanukovych decided to postpone his speech on Wednesday as clashes continued. He invited parliament leaders and heads of parliamentary factions to meet him to discuss the resignations.
Correspondents say about 1,000 opposition activists took part in Wednesday's demonstration.
The new law says local officials can use a "regional language" if at least 10% of the local population are native speakers of that language.
Those officials would have to know the regional language and be able to use it in their official duties.
People will be allowed to choose which language they want their documents issued in - Ukrainian or regional.
The new law de facto grants Russian the status of an official language - but not the state one - in most of Ukraine.