KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukraine's newly empowered parliament has voted to remove the interior minister, widely blamed for ordering police violence against protesters.
Legislators in the Verhovna Rada fired Vitali Zakharchenko on Friday evening after a fast-moving day of efforts to defuse months of political crisis.
The vote came shortly after the parliament restored new powers to itself by reinstating a 10-year-old constitution that limits presidential authority.
Zakharchenko is deeply despised by the protesters, whom he calls extremists.
The parliament also voted to allow the release of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko after more than two years in prison.
Legislators voted 310-54 to decriminalize the count under which she was imprisoned, meaning that she is no longer guilty of a criminal offense.
"Free Yulia! Free Yulia!" legislators chanted after the vote.
It's not immediately clear when she might be released from the eastern city of Kharkiv where she is serving her sentence.
Scores of people have been killed in clashes this week.
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