KIEV, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- Anti-government protesters clashed with police in central Kiev for a second day on Monday after the weekend rally, called in part to protest new laws limiting public assembly, turned violent.
Demonstrators have occupied the capital's Independence Square and European Square, erecting barricades and building special devices for throwing stones and "Molotov cocktails" at law enforcement officers. Some protesters pelted police with burning rags and petrol bombs.
Police used stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrators. Officers have not used firearms so far, although they have the right to do it during riots, according to the law.
A day earlier, demonstrators attacked riot police with sticks, fireworks and smoke bombs and set a few police vehicles ablaze, sharply escalating Ukraine's two-month crisis.
Around 100 police officers and the same number of protesters were injured during the violence on Sunday and early Monday. According to local media reports, at least 25 journalists were also hurt during the clashes.
President Viktor Yanukovych ordered the formation of a working group to find a way out of the crisis that blew up in November, when Kiev halted its European integration process, opting for closer relations with Russia.
The political protests, which had been largely peaceful, turned violent after the parliament on Thursday approved a legislation which bans the wearing of masks and helmets during protests and allows a jail term of up to five years for those who block public buildings.