Crisis continues in Ukraine

Headline: Court delays hearing in Ukraine crisis as judges demand bodyguards
by Anya Tsukanova Tue Apr 10, 12:53 PM ET

Ukraine's constitutional court abruptly delayed Tuesday key hearings on the country's power struggle, as several judges requested bodyguards saying they felt under pressure.

<br />President Yushchenko signs decree <br />Babushka
Babushka rallies for the
Communist Party of Ukraine

The hearings to consider the legality of Western-leaning President Viktor Yushchenko's decree dissolving parliament and calling elections for May 27 were delayed from Wednesday until April 17. The Russian-backed majority in parliament claims the decree is unconstitutional and has refused to comply. Five of the 18 judges on the constitutional court made a dramatic statement alleging dirty tricks and indirectly pointing the finger at the leader of the parliamentary rebellion, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.
"Gross pressure has been applied," judge Volodymyr Kampo told journalists, reading from a joint statement. "To guarantee our security we ask to be given state protection." Yushchenko and Yanukovych met for talks but the political enemies refused to retreat.
The president "is convinced that a compromise... is only possible on condition of early elections" the president's office said in a statement after the meeting. Thousands of Yanukovych supporters continued to demonstrate in central Kiev for a second week.
The president's party, Our Ukraine, said it would hold a major demonstration on Wednesday in support of early elections.
In a further sign of tensions, Deputy Interior Minister Viktor Suslov told the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily that "extremist political forces are planning to cause confrontations to undermine the meeting of the constitutional court and to encourage the president to introduce a state of emergency."