The clashes left 165 activists wounded, 109 of whom were hospitalized. Some 140 law enforcement officers and 40 journalists were also injured in the clashes.
Thousands of Ukrainian protesters have blocked entrances to a government building and called for the removal of the prime minister and his cabinet, as anger at the president’s decision to ditch a deal for closer ties with the European Union swept the country and threatened his rule, Al Jazeera reports.
Monday’s besieging of the building follows a huge rally in the capital by hundreds of thousands Ukrainians a day earlier, which was mostly peaceful, until a group of protesters tried to storm President Viktor Yanukovych’s office. After hours of scuffles, police chased protesters away with tears gas and truncheons. The present round of protests have been further fuelled by polilce action against protesters on Saturday. At least three lawmakers of the governing Party of Regions have quit, and the opposition wants to oust the cabinet of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov during a confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday.
But the opposition, who now controls some 170 seats would need 226 votes in the 450-seat parliament to oust the government. Azarov’s spokesman Vitaly Lukyanenko on Monday said the government was not planning to impose a state of emergency.
The Ukrainian protest reached a head of steam the previous night in fierce clashes with police, who were trying to contain a human sea of reportedly around 500,000 protesting people. Some senior EU politicians have blamed Russia for what’s led to the situation in Kiev, saying it was Kremlin interference that sunk the deal with the EU.
In parts of western Ukraine, where most speak Ukrainian and lean toward the EU, some local officials seem to be in open revolt. The clashes left 165 activists wounded, 109 of whom were hospitalized overnight. Reportedly, nearly 140 law enforcement officers were also injured, and no less than 75 of them were brought to hospitals, five in serious condition.
Over 40 journalists suffered injuries in recent clashes between protesters and police in Kiev. Most of them were wounded during the siege of the presidential administration on Sunday, Interfax reported.
In a statement on Monday, CoE Secretary General called on all parties concerned to return to peaceful dialogue and offers the assistance of the Council of Europe.