Flaming Cocktails Make a ComebackPosted: January 20, 2014 | |
Radical opposition protesters today battled Ukrainian police in new clashes after bloody fighting the day earlier wounded more than 200 people amid mounting fury over draconian new anti-protest laws.
The clashes, the worst in Kiev in recent times, marked a spiralling of tensions after two months of demonstrations against President Viktor Yanukovych‘s refusal to sign a pact for closer integration with the EU.
A special commission set up by Yanukovych was due to meet representatives of the opposition today for emergency talks, but it was unclear if this could help ease the crisis, with parts of central Kiev resembling a battlefield.
After a night of violence that continued into the early hours, thousands of protesters returned to the streets today despite temperatures of minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit).
In the epicentre of the clashes outside the entrance to the iconic Dynamo Kiev football stadium in central Kiev, both sides hunkered down behind barricades in an increasingly explosive standoff.
The protesters lobbed stones dug up from the cobbled road and flung Molotov cocktails over a 20 metre (65 foot) no-man’s land at police lines.
Police responded by throwing stun grenades and occasionally using rubber bullets and tear gas.
‘We will stay until demands are met’
The burned-out wrecks of half a dozen police vehicles torched and destroyed the day earlier were used by the protesters as a barricade.
“We are going to stay here until our demands are met on the annulment of the laws” restricting protests, said protester Yaroslav Putilin, 46.
According to the Kiev health authorities, more than 100 protesters were wounded in yesterday’s clashes, with four people sustaining serious injuries to eyes and limbs…