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Ukraine protests turn violent

01-20-2014 14:05 BJT

There’ve been violent clashes during anti-government protests in Kiev. Dozens of people were injured, including more than 20 police officers. One opposition leader has described the situation as "civil war"..... but the president of Ukraine says his national security chief will meet the opposition to work out a solution.

The clashes raged for hours on Sunday -- protesters facing off with riot police... attacking with sticks and stones...and hurling lighted flares.

Many wearing hard hats and masks in defiance of new laws signed by President Viktor Yanukovych on Friday.

There’ve been violent clashes during anti-government protests in Kiev. Dozens of people were injured, including more than 20 police officers.

The legislation limits Ukrainians’ rights to protes, free speech and civic activism.

Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko had this message for the president.

Vitali Klitschko, Oppostition Udar Party, said, "You’re fighting with your nation. Stop the escalation and don’t force people using police and police forces. Stop the civil war against the citizens of Ukraine who have been calling for two months for you to listen to them."

Large-scale protests in the Ukraine began in November.. after the president tabled a trade deal with the European Union in favor of closer ties to Russia.

Sunday’s demonstrations began peacefully with tens of thousands rallying in the center of Kiev.

Yulia Payevska, Activist, said, "My daughter has brought toys for the president. She asked him to cancel the passed laws because she doesn’t want to live in a country without freedom. She is 10 years old and knows about values."

Tempers flared as the day wore on. Some protesters are frustrated with the lack of unity among opposition leaders.
Klitschko himself was sprayed with a fire extinguisher during the rally.
Protest leaders repeatedly appealed to the crowd to show restraint.

Arseny Yatsenyuk, United Opposition Party, said, "We condemn violence, we did not gather here to give Victor Yanukovych and law enforcement forces a reason to disperse our peaceful protest."

But the more radical protesters seemed eager for a fight. By evening, hundreds marched to the parliament building for a full-scale confrontation with police. The interior ministry said it was filming everything and opening a criminal investigation.The US and European Union have condemned Ukraine’s anti-protest law, calling it undemocratic.

 

Editor:James |Source: CCTV.com

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