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Kiev protesters reclaim Independence Square

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iol pic wld KIE17_UKRAINE-_0220_11

Reuters

Smoke rises over Independence Square during clashes between anti-government protesters and riot police in Kiev. Picture: Vasily Fedosenko

Kiev - Ukrainian protesters seized back Kiev's Independence Square in fresh clashes with riot police on Thursday that left several injured and possibly two demonstrators dead.

The violence came after a truce declared late on Wednesday by President Viktor Yanukovich, who was due to meet the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland shortly in Kiev.

Ukrainian television showed two bodies lying on the ground near the square covered by blankets following violence shortly after 9am (07h00 GMT), when protesters surged forward into an area that had been taken by police in heavy fighting between Tuesday and Wednesday.

The anti-government militants hurled fireworks and other projectiles. Police fired stun grenades.

Later, television footage showed several injured protesters being led away by helpers and several riot policemen being led off in the square by opposition militants in combat fatigues.

Local media said parliament, a few hundred metres from the square, had been evacuated. It was unclear how the violence would affect Yanukovich's meeting with the European Union delegation or the foreign ministers' plans to hold a news conference near the square later on Thursday morning. - Reuters


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