Rivals Face Off in Kiev Amid Police Violence Probe

In an attempt to appease the demonstrators who, despite increasing police violence, have for weeks have camped in the streets of Kiev, Ukraine in a growing call for revolution, authorities announced Saturday the opening of an investigation into the officials responsible for a vicious crackdown on protesting students last month.

Al Jazeera reports:

The officials are being investigated for their role in the November 30 crackdown when dozens of protesters, mostly students, were violently evicted from Kiev’s Independence Square. Many were beaten on the head and limbs and dragged on the ground.

Amid news of the investigation, tens of thousands of Ukranians took to the streets of Kiev Saturday in a set of rival protests. Reuters reports Ukrainians in support of President Viktor Yanukovich were separated by a line of riot police from the anti-government protesters who had camped out ahead of a mass opposition rally scheduled for Sunday.


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The Ukrainian ruling Party of Regions estimates that some 200,000 Yanukovich supporters had come out Saturday to back the government’s anti-EU move.

“Rais[ing] fears of fresh violence,” Reuters reports, “buses that brought many of the pro-government protesters to Kiev from Donetsk and other cities in eastern Ukraine – the traditional stronghold of the Party of Regions – were parked in streets around the rallying point in European Square.”

Reuters continues:

The report notes that the opposition’s “anti-government fervor [is] unlikely to be dampened” by the announcement of the investigation or the president’s dismissal of the two senior officials.


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