Ukraine riot police use gas, truncheons on protesters

Here is some interesting.  They are “Gassing” their people but is OK; is just Riot Gas. 

I guess the EU wants the whole country to defect to the west.  On which side of the fence Ukraine want to sit?  I say… be careful on what you wish for; jumping from the fryer and land on the flames is not a good idea.   Just another day in the war on Russia’s Gazprom and the West Corporations.  

Look at the merging points on the red lines; that is Natural Gas Pipelines and is right on Ukraine.

Here is the link for the map.

Ukraine with Pipelines

Interior minister had warned police would against mass disturbances

Thomson Reuters Posted: Dec 01, 2013 7:25 AM ET Last Updated: Dec 01, 2013 10:46 AM ET

Riot police in Ukraine’s capital have used tear gas, truncheons and flash grenades to push back protesters who tried to storm the presidential administration building.

Dozens of people with what appeared to be head injuries were taken away by ambulance after the latest violence in Kyiv on Sunday.

More than 100,000 demonstrators rallied on Independence Square in the biggest show of anger yet over President Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign an agreement with the European Union.

During Sunday’s demonstration, several thousand people broke away and attempted to storm the nearby presidential administration building.

Earlier in the day, Ukraine’s interior minister had warned that police would respond if there were mass disturbances.

“Mass disorder? The police cannot fail to react to this. Do we want to go the way of Libya, Tunis? If there are calls (from the opposition) for mass disorder, then we will react,” the minister, Vitaly Zakharchenko, told Interfax news agency.

Tens of thousands of pro-Europe protesters marched toward Kyiv’s Independence Square, scene of a police crackdown on protesters on Saturday that has fanned the tension.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and his government have faced daily protests in the past week over a decision to suspend preparations to sign a landmark trade pact with the European Union and instead seek to improve ties with Russia.

Yanukovich’s office released a statement Sunday saying the president will try to speed up the process of moving Ukraine “closer” to the EU.

“I will do everything that depends on me in order to accelerate the process of moving Ukraine closer to the European
Union,” Interfax quoted Yanukovich as saying.

On Saturday, about 10,000 anti-government demonstrators converged on Independence Square and riot police beat several of them with truncheons. Some of the protesters were bleeding from their heads and arms.

Opposition leaders have called for nationwide strikes and for Ukrainians to mobilize en masse. Another big demonstration was called for Sunday.

The demonstrators outside the St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery were shouting “shame” and “resign.” Some vowed to spend the night on the square, as temperatures hovered only slightly above freezing.

“Each of you have to come out and express your own position on what kind of country you want to live in — a totalitarian, police-controlled country where your children will be beaten up or in a European country,” said Vitaly Klitschko, a world boxing champion and leader of the opposition Udar party.

Klitschko’s call encapsulated the two issues agitating the demonstrators: President Viktor Yanukovych’s refusal to sign an association agreement with the EU and the violent dispersal of protests denouncing that decision.

Ukranian president condemns violence

Yanukovych said in an address Saturday evening that he condemned “the actions that led to the forceful confrontation and the suffering of people.” He called for an investigation and for those responsible to be punished.

“I confirm that we are united in our choice of a common European future,” Yanukovych said.

Yanukovych has said he still hopes that Ukraine will one day sign the agreement with the EU, but that the country was too fragile economically and could not afford to sacrifice trade with Russia.

Moscow regards Ukraine as historically part of its orbit and has tried to block the deal with the EU by banning some of Ukraine’s imports and threatening more trade sanctions. A 2009 dispute between Kyiv and Moscow on gas prices resulted in a three-week cutoff of gas to Ukraine.

The association agreement would have established free trade and deepened political co-operation between Ukraine and the EU, but stopped short of membership in the regional bloc.

In the city of Lviv in western Ukraine, where sentiment for European integration is especially strong, 10,000 demonstrators protested the failure to sign on Saturday.

Meanwhile, another prominent protest figure, parliament deputy Arseniy Yatsenyuk, is calling for Yanukovych to be impeached and on his government to resign. Yatsenyuk said opposition leaders were working to organize nationwide strikes.

Clashes in Kyiv

Early Saturday, officers in riot gear moved against several hundred protesters at Independence Square in the Kyiv city centre, beating some with truncheons. Some protesters then went to the monastery about 500 metres away to take shelter in its cathedral.

In the early morning action, police took 35 demonstrators into custody. Some protesters were bleeding from their heads and arms after the clash.

“It was horrible. We were holding a peaceful demonstration and they attacked us,” protester Lada Tromada said. “They threw us away like garbage.”

Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said in a statement that “the information from different sides which I have at the moment does not allow firm conclusions about who is responsible for this provocation,” but said it would be fully investigated.

Kyiv police chief Valery Koryak laid the responsibility on the protesters, saying the police were provoked into taking action, the Interfax news agency reported.

The European Union and the U.S. State Department condemned the violence against the protesters.

“We urge Ukraine’s leaders to respect their people’s right to freedom of expression and assembly,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

“The European Union strongly condemns the excessive use of force last night by the police in Kyiv to disperse peaceful protesters, who over the last days in a strong and unprecedented manner have expressed their support for Ukraine’s political association and economic integration with the EU,” the EU statement said.

Baird condemns use of force

Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird also blasted the use of force against protesters.

“Freedom of speech and freedom of assembly are fundamental tenets of any truly democratic country,” Baird said in a statement.

“We call upon the government of Ukraine to respect and indeed protect the rights of its citizens to express their opinions freely.”

A Canadian government official, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, said the crackdown prompted urgent meetings between Ukrainian opposition leaders and the Canadian, U.S. and E.U ambassadors to discuss what happened.

With files from Reuters



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