24 November 2013, 20:34

Protests in Kiev are peaceful despite local incident with tear gas – VoR interview

Protests in Kiev are peaceful despite local incident with tear gas – VoR interview

Thousands of pro-Europe integration Ukranians gathered Sunday evening in central Kiev. According to various reports, police tried to disperse the crowd with tear gas. VR'r Kiev bureau chief, Maxim Eristavi shed light on the ongoing events.

- Maxim, what is happening in Kiev right now?

- It's a pretty intense and remarkable day for Kiev. Today we saw almost 100,000 people protesting in the central Kiev, the Ukrainian capital. There were reports that police used tear gas to disperse the rally. But minutes ago police spokesperson said in an interview with the Voice of Russia that it was used against protestors in response to their tear gas attack. And that it was only a local incident and police isn't using it on more broader basis. But still this incident took place, it's true.

- What about the authority's handle on security? Is it pretty safe at the moment? Anything beyond tear gas?

- Broadly speaking protests are going pretty peacefully. There are a lot of people on the streets, so it's bad for local traffic, but still you could say it's a peaceful process.

- And we began with reports that thousands of people gathered and there are already tens of thousands. So what about the balance of forces between pro- and anti-European integration demonstrators?

- That's a good question because, as you know, Kiev is more pro-EU city and more protestors came from pro integration camp. But thousands of people are also coming together here in Kiev to protest against the EU integration. It's harder for them to get their voices heard because most of them are from eastern Ukraine and it's harder for them to get here on such a short notice but they are here. 

New clashes erupt in central Kiev

Clashes between supporters of Ukraine's European integration and special police officers were re-launched on the European Square in downtown Kiev, police used batons and tear gas.

Law enforcers have tried to break into the territory, where the opposition had their tent camp on the European Square, but protesters formed a human wall, and prevented to disperse a rally. Protestors are throwing clods at the police, try to rip off their helmets.

Protesters lift up blockade of the government's office in Kiev

In Ukraine's capital Kiev, participants of an anti-government rally ceased to block the entry to the office of the President's administration on Sunday evening.

Only about 10 protesters stayed near the building. The police special forces' detachment, called “Berkut”, also left, only the regular police still remains.

'Tear gas usage in Kiev was a local incident' - correspondent

“There were a lot of controversial statements concerning the usage of tear gas at the rally in Kiev, but we’ve received a final commentary from police. According to them, tear gas was used at first by protesters and only then the police used it in response. Yet, this was only a local incident, nobody disperses the protest,” said a “Voice of the Capital” correspondent in an interview with the Voice of Russia.

Ukrainian police fire tear gas in clashes with pro-Europe protesters in Kiev

Photo: Reuters

Thousands of pro-Europe protesters in Ukraine attempted to storm the government building in the capital of Kiev Sunday, clashing with police who fired tear gas to keep them back.

Protesters tried to break through police ranks surrounding the building, with some throwing stones and hitting officers with the signs they were carrying, as police fought back with batons.


Opposition says rally in support of EU deal will continue indefinitely

First deputy head of the Batkivshchina party, lawmaker Oleksandr Turchynov said the rally being held in Kyiv in support of an association agreement with the European Union will last indefinitely and that the opposition parties will set up their headquarters on Europe Square.

First deputy head of the Batkivshchina party, lawmaker Oleksandr Turchynov said the rally being held in Kyiv in support of an association agreement with the European Union will last indefinitely and that the opposition parties will set up their headquarters on Europe Square.

"We are announcing today that the rally to demand the signing of an association agreement with the European Union will last indefinitely," he told the rally in central Kyiv on Sunday.

Rally For European Integration begins in Kiev

A rally in support of Ukraine's European integration has begun in Kiev. The event features about five thousand participants, who carry the flags of Ukraine and the EU.

Tens of thousands of pro-Western Ukrainians rallied in the capital Kiev Sunday to protest against the government's decision to scrap a landmark EU trade treaty.

The police have blocked traffic along the Taras Shevchenko boulevard. Leaders of the opposition - Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Viatly Klichko, Oleg Tyagnibok and Yiri Lutsenko - are marching in the front. The police say they have not fixed any violations of order as yet.

 Photo: Reuters

The protesters, waving European Union and opposition party flags, marched through the centre of the city chanting pro-Western and anti-government slogans.

The rally was expected to grow as more groups of demonstrators converged amid a light police presence, heeding the opposition's call for a massive protest.Police said that rally organisers had notified the authorities that up to 100,000 protesters were expected, but its own estimate was 20,000 people.

Some held posters saying "We are not the Soviet Union, we are the European Union" and "I Love EU". The crowd also chanted calls for unseating President Viktor Yanukovich and releasing ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko from jail.

The UDAR Party leader Vitali Klitschko, who was unable to come in time, missed the beginning of the action because his plane was not allowed to land at Kiev airports.

Speaking on the European Square was his brother Wladimir Klitschko, who criticized the current Ukrainian government, stressing that the Ukrainians would welcome the European lifestyle.

Rallies in support of Ukraine's European integration are being currently held in other cities in Ukraine, including Lvov, Kharkov, Uzhgorod, Dnepropetrovsk, and Donetsk. The opposition supporters expect that 40,000 people at the minimum will take to the streets.

The participants of the rally of protest against the suspension of work on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which is currently underway on the Taras Shevchenko Square in Lvov, have set up a tented town there. Student activists have put another 10 tents near the first tent which appeared there on November 22nd . On all of them the EU flag is pictured.

Meanwhile, the rally, entitled "We are building Europe in Ukraine" that was organized by the Ukrainian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs continues on the Mikhailovskaya Square. It is being aired by the First National Channel.

The participants of this rally have supported the government's well- thought policy regarding Ukraine Association Membership Agreement with the European Union. The MP representing Ukraine's Party of Regions Anatoly Kinakh made public a draft resolution. "We are sure that the main priority here is the protection of people's interests, and a balanced process of Ukraine's European integration would meet their interests.

Another MP - also from the Party of Regions of Ukraine – Nestor Shufrich said: " It would be unreasonable for Ukraine to sign the Association Membership Agreement in its current form because in this case the number of jobs in the country will be reduced, and Ukraine's raw materials will be uncontrollably used."

"In the first place, we must develop partnership relations with Europe, taking into account the interests of our agricultural workers and businessmen," he said in conclusion. For his part, President of the Ukrainian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Anatoly Kinakh said: "There is no doubt that Ukraine will integrate into the European space but it should not turn into Europe's raw-material appendage."

Photo: Reuters

At the same time, in Mikhailov Square, begins another rally - against Ukraine's association with the European Union,- where organisers have announced they will united ten thousand participants. This event is organised by the ruling Party of Regions and its youth wing - Young Regions.

Rallies in support of the European integration are organised in the country's other cities, for example, in Lvov, Kharkov, Uzhgorod, Dnepropetrovsk and Donetsk. The opposition claims the rallies will feature at least 40,000 Ukrainians.

On the other hand, Simferopol will organise a rally “For stability and booming. Crimea for development of trade relations with Russia.

Voice of Russia, Interfax, TASS, AFP, RIA

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