Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

  • Deadly shelling strikes Gaza UN school

    Read more

  • Dozens killed in stampede at Guinea rap concert

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • US and EU slap Russia with fresh sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Europe launches last resupply ship to space station

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fuel fire rages on

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • Venezuela: Hugo Chavez’s ‘little bird’ strikes again

    Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs born in French zoo

    Read more

Europe

Fresh protests in Kiev as opposition calls for elections

© Photo: AFP

Video by Kyle G. BROWN

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-12-01

Around 10,000 anti-government protesters gathered outside a monastery in Kiev Saturday where demonstrators had earlier taken shelter after violent clashes with police. Opposition leaders have called for fresh elections and a national strike.

Thousands of anti-government protesters gathered outside a monastery in Ukraine capital Kiev Saturday where demonstrators had earlier taken shelter following violent clashes with police.

Yanukovich ‘outraged’ by violence

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has said he is “deeply outraged” by Saturday’s violent clashes between protesters and police in Kiev.

"I condemn the actions which led to a confrontation and people suffering," Yanukovich said in a statement on Saturday evening.

The president said he had ordered an investigation “in order to properly punish those responsible”, but did not specifically blame the police.

The renewed protests came as opposition leaders, angered by President Viktor Yanukovich’s refusal to sign a pro-European Union agreement, called for early elections and a nationwide strike.

Early Saturday, officers in riot gear moved against several hundred protesters still camped at Kiev’s main Independence Square following bigger demonstrations on Friday night in the city center, beating some with truncheons.

TV footage showed police beating one young woman on the legs and kicking young men on the ground. Several people were given emergency treatment on the spot for cuts to the head.

The interior ministry said the riot police moved in “after the protesters began to resist the (ordinary uniformed) police, throwing trash, glasses, bottles of water and flares at them”.

Fleeing the clashes, some protesters went to the St Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery about 500 meters away to take shelter in its cathedral.

By Saturday afternoon, around 10,000 demonstrators had gathered on the square outside the monastery, shouting chants of “shame” and “resign”.

‘National resistance’

Opposition leaders, who late on Friday had urged protesters to continue campaigning for a European future for the ex-Soviet republic, condemned the police crackdown and said it would call a country-wide strike.

“We have taken a common decision to form a headquarters of national resistance and we have begun preparations for an all-Ukraine national strike,” former economy minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, one of three opposition leaders, told journalists.

They wanted the resignation of the government and early parliamentary and presidential elections to force out President Viktor Yanukovich, he said, and were due to meet for talks with EU ambassadors later on Saturday.

Tension had been building in Kiev since Friday, when Yanukovich walked away from signing the pact with EU leaders at a summit in Lithuania, going back on a pledge to work toward integrating his ex-Soviet republic into the European mainstream.

About 10,000 people had rallied on Independence Square Friday evening to protest Yanukovych’s backing off from the pact that had been eagerly anticipated by Ukrainians who want their country to break out of Moscow’s orbit and tilt to the West.

Opinion surveys in recent months showed about 45 percent of Ukrainians supporting closer integration with the EU and a third or less favoring closer ties with Russia.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2013-11-30

  • UKRAINE

    Riot police break up protest in Ukraine capital

    Read more

  • EUROPEAN UNION

    Ukraine’s EU ‘U-turn’ dominates East Europe talks

    Read more

  • RUSSIA - EU - UKRAINE

    Putin slams EU criticism over stalled Ukraine deal

    Read more

COMMENT(S)