- Title: UKRAIN: Riot police catch fire as violent clashes break out in Kiev
- Date: 19th January 2014
- Summary: KIEV, UKRAINE (JANUARY 19, 2014) (REUTERS) PROTESTERS LINED UP WITH BARRIERS AT INDEPENDENCE SQUARE PROTESTERS THROWING OBJECTS CLASHES TAKING PLACE POLICE RUNNING BUS ON FIRE POLICE SHIELDING THEMSELVES FLAMING OBJECT IS THROWN AT POLICE WHO ARE SHIELDING THEMSELVES WITH BARRIERS / POLICEMEN CATCHING FIRE / ROLLING ON GROUND POLICE HELMET BURNING ON GROUND VARIOUS OF CLASHES BETWEEN POLICE AND PROTESTERS AMONG FIRES PROTESTERS BEATING POLICE PROTESTERS LINED UP WITH BARRIERS VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS AND POLICE CLASHING VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS THROWING OBJECTS AT POLICE POLICE SHELTERING BUS BEING HOSED WITH WATER CLASHES TAKING PLACE
- Embargoed: 3rd February 2014 12:00
- Location: Ukraine
- Country: Ukraine
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA7ZT0AQA59JD01D62037JXXWSO
- Story Text: Riot police in Ukraine were set alight on Sunday (January 19) night after protesters in the capital Kiev threw flaming objects at them.
The violent clashes broke out as protesters demonstrated against tough anti-protest legislation that was rushed through parliament last week.
The political opposition says the laws pave the way for a police state.
A group of masked demonstrators attacked a cordon of police with sticks and tried to overturn a bus blocking their way to the parliament building after opposition politicians called on people to disregard the new legislation.
Despite appeals from opposition leaders not to resort to violence, and a personal intervention from boxer-turned-politician Vitaly Klitschko, protesters continued to throw smoke bombs and hurl fireworks and other objects at police.
A spokeswoman for Klitschko tweeted that President Viktor Yanukovich had agreed to meet Klitschko immediately at the presidential residence outside Kiev, although there was no confirmation from Yanukovich's side.
As tensions continued into the night, police used water cannon against demonstrators gathered near the parliament building and the heavily protected government headquarters, eyewitnesses said.
Earlier, some distance away from the clashes, up to 100,000 Ukrainians massed on Kiev's Independence Square in defiance of the sweeping new laws, which ban rallies and which Washington and other Western capitals have denounced as undemocratic.
The rally, the biggest of the new year, was the latest in a cycle of public protests in the former Soviet republic since Yanukovich made a policy U-turn in November away from the European Union towards Russia, Ukraine's former Soviet overlord.
Several big protests in December attracted hundreds of thousands of people, while thousands maintained a vigil in a Kiev square demanding Yanukovich resign. Since the new year demonstrations have become smaller, but hundreds of people are still camping in the square and 50,000 turned out a week ago.
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