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Protesters attack police officers in central Kiev

English.news.cn   2014-01-25 22:16:17

KIEV, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- Ukrainian anti-government protesters attacked three police officers in central Kiev late Friday, severely injuring one of them with a knife, the Interior Ministry said Saturday.

According to the statement on the ministry's website, demonstrators released the wounded officer, but continue holding the other two in one of the seized administrative buildings near Independence Square, the main site of the unrest.

The ministry also said the body of another police officer was found in Kiev on Friday. However, the ministry has not linked the death to the ongoing clashes.

Demonstration leaders denied their involvement in the seizing of the police officers or the death of the other policeman.

Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko said his ministry had information there were scores of firearms in the buildings near Independence Square, which have been occupied by the demonstrators.

Meanwhile, activists braving temperatures which dropped to minus 20 degrees Celsius, staged their sixth day of protests, which resumed last week after the government approved harsh anti-protest legislation.

Overnight Saturday, protesters threw stones and "Molotov cocktails" at police, who responded with tear gas.

Since Thursday, demonstrators seized a number of administrative offices across Ukraine and the agriculture and energy ministries' buildings.

Protests in Ukraine turned violent last weekend, when radical activists attacked riot police with fireworks and petrol bombs. Since Sunday, at least three people were reported dead and hundreds of others, including police officers, injured during the clashes.

The protests are becoming unmanageable because activists protesting against the current government have also lost confidence in the opposition over its ineffectiveness and unrealistic demands. The opposition has called for the impeachment of President Viktor Yanukovych, resignation of the government and dissolution of parliament.

On Friday, Yanukovych pledged to reshuffle the government and amend controversial anti-protest laws next week in an apparent concession to the opposition.

The mass rallies started in Ukraine last November, following a government decision to put on hold an association agreement with the European Union and opt for closer relations with Russia.

Editor: yan
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