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Ukraine

Maidan protests continue after night of violence

The Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, has been the stage for dramatic scenes as police try to repress demonstrators who have been protesting against the government. Casualties have been reported on both sides.

The atmosphere in downtown Kyiv's is explosive. Many walls bear writing wishing for the death of the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. The city once again gleams orange as it did in 2004 during the so-called "orange revolution."

But this time it is the orange helmets of the protesters that characterize the image of the Chreschtschatik Boulevard and the Maidan Nesaleschnosti, also known as Independence Square. Opponents of the government wear the helmets in an attempt to protect themselves from police batons.

Opponents of the Ukranian government protest against the decision to not sign an EU association agreement and the mood is getting tense with police forces and protesters clashing on Independence Square

The mood in Kyiv is tense with protesters and police forces clashing on the streets

In the early hours of Wednesday (11.12.2013) police task forces moved in to the main tent protest camp on Kyiv's Independence Square. Authorities said they wanted to implement the court decision not allowing protesting in the city center.

Hundreds of thousands have been protesting against the government decision to not sign an EU association agreement. Violence against protesters last night brought more people to the streets. There were reports of casualties on both sides after Wednesday's morning unrest.

Ruslana calls citizens

According to witnesses, between 2,000 and 3,000 protesters had endured the freeezing temperatures in the city center when police forces moved in last night.

Opponents of the Ukranian government protest against the decision to not sign an EU association agreement inspite of a court decision maijg protest in the city center illegal.

Inspite of a court decision making proetsts in the city center illegal, Kyivans are on the streets

Singer and Eurovision song contest winner Ruslana has been one of the leaders of the protests since weeks. While on stage she called on the people of Kyiv to come together in the city center. Her plea was broadcasted live on TV and people flocked towards the city center in the middle of the night.

Authorities blocked off the exits of two subway stations in order to cut back the influx of protesters.

But in the early morning hours more and more people came to downtown Kyiv. Especially small groups of students were walking over snowy and icy streets towards Maisan. But there are also older citizens participating in the protests.

"We left our weekend house last night just so we could be here today," a pensioner standing on Maidan with her husband told DW. She called the attempt of the police to suppress protesters "a disgrace."

Aggressive atmosphere

Opponents of the Ukranian government protest against the decision to not sign an EU association agreement and splash ice-cold water onto police forces moving in

Protesters splash ice-cold water onto police forces

Dramatic scenes occurred in front of the city administration building in the early hours of Wednesday. Hundreds of protesters slept in this building on Chreschtschatik 36 while volunteers provide them with food.

After 8 p.m. Kyiv time, police managed to move in with three busses and drive in front of the entrance of the building, which has been barricaded with wooden tables. As a reaction the protesters splashed ice-cold water from the first floor onto the police cars and the uniformed police men.

The crowd on the street is getting increasingly aggressive. Many are shouting "bandu het!" (Away with the gang). The message is meant for the government and the president. It seems unlikely that the protests will remain as peaceful as before.

DW.DE

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