Pro-EU Protesters in Kiev Clash with Ukrainian Police

World | November 24, 2013, Sunday // 16:40|  views

Photo by RIA Novosti.

Protesters in Ukraine's capital Kiev have clashed with police after trying to storm government buildings in protest against the scrapping of the planned Association Agreement with the European Union.

Tens of thousands are said to have gathered in the Ukrainian capital to rally against a move which they see draws Ukraine ever closer to Russia and farther away from Europe.

After the crowd attempted to storm the Council of Ministers in Kiev, police, including Berkut special units, resorted to use force, and fired tear gas onto the rally several times, reports RIA Novosti.

Then law enforcement officials proceeded to attempt to disperse the crowd

According to police data, some 22,000 people are taking part in the rally, while an opposition politican cited a figure as high as 100,000.

The Ukrainan opposition has declared it is launching a "permanent protest action" against the giving up of the EU Association Agreement.

The Ukrainian government announced the decision Thursday, just days before the treaty was supposed to be signed at an upcoming EU summit end of next week.

The move was substantiated with "reasons relating to national security," in particular the need to strengthen trade and economic cooperation with Russia and the other countries in the Commonwealth of Independent Nations.

Ukraine takes CIS's rotational presidency in 2014.

The country also deliberated whether to join the Belarus-Kazakhstan-Russia customs union, a move which would be impossible if it signs the EU Association Agreement.

Ukraine's decision was preceded by a minor dispute with Russia over the delivery of natural gas, that echoed the events of early 2009.

Since then, Russia has built the Nord Stream gas pipeline, and has started building a the South Stream pipe (passing through Bulgaria), both of which circumvent Ukraine.

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Tags: protest, police, tear gas, trade, natural gas, South stream, Nord Stream, European Union, EU, Russia, Ukraine, Kiev


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