Protesters in Ukraine block government buildings

Protesters block a street leading to the building of Cabinet of Ministers in Kiev early on Monday.  

Pro-European protesters on Monday blocked government buildings in Kiev after the biggest demonstrations in the Ukrainian capital since 2004-05 Orange Revolution.

Hundreds of opposition supporters held the mayor’s office and the central unions building, which had been taken by storm during Sunday’s protests.

About 150 protesters gathered outside the Ukrainian cabinet building and demanded the government’s resignation, the Interfax news agency reported.

Government employees could not enter the building and returned home, the report said.

On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people demanded the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych, who on Friday had refused to sign a landmark association agreement with the European Union.

Arseni Yatsenyuk of the opposition Fatherland party of jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko had told protesters that a resignation of Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov would be “a first step.” About 5,000 people braved the cold night, setting up barricades and tents on the central Maidan, or Independence Square.

More than 150 people -- both police and civilians -- were injured over the weekend, but no incidents were reported overnight into Monday.

The protests escalated after riot police violently ended a protest early on Saturday. Interior Minister Vitaly Sakharchenko later apologised for the incident, and city police chief Valery Koryak offered his resignation.

Mr. Yanukovych promised an investigation after several legislators quit his party over the affair.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2021 1:54:16 AM |

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