Opposition Leader Caught Up In Clashes As Tens Of Thousands Defy Ukraine Protest Ban In Kiev - PHOTOS

by
Sameera Ehteram
The weekend was rife with anti-government protests in Kiev and things got out of hand when the demonstrations turned violent. So much so that opposition leader Vitali Klitschko, usually in control, was unable to manage the crowds.

Kiev Protests

The weekend was rife with anti-government protests in Kiev and things got out of hand when the demonstrations turned violent. So much so that opposition leader Vitali Klitschko, usually in control, was unable to manage the crowds.

It’s been more than a month since about 2,000 anti-government protesters gathered braved the freezing weather to oppose President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to enhance ties with Russia and distance the nation from Europe.

This weekend however, tens and thousands of pro-EU demonstrators gathered in the city’s Independence Square to voice their disapproval for the anti-protest laws banning rallies.

According to the new law, the punishments for protesting include long prison sentences for "extremism."

Comments on online social networks said the parliament had gone too far, and despite the ban, thousands of people came out to the streets.

Check out: Ukraine 2013 - The Most Chilling Protest Images You Will Ever See

After weeks of peaceful demonstrations, riots broke out in on Sunday as opposition members clashed with the police.

Kiev Protests

A group of masked demonstrators attacked a cordon of police with sticks and tried to overturn a bus blocking their way to the parliament building after opposition politicians called on people to disregard the new legislation.

Despite appeals from opposition leaders not to resort to violence, and a personal intervention from boxer-turned-politician Vitali Klitschko, protesters continued to throw smoke bombs and hurl fireworks and other objects at police.

"Stop your actions," he called. "We are a peaceful protest," he added but the crowd was in no mood to listen. Protesters sprayed a powder fire extinguisher at police, catching Klitschko as well whose face got covered in white.

Kiev Protests

The rally, the biggest this year in a cycle of pro-Europe protests convulsing the former Soviet republic for the past two months, was spurred by the legislation rushed through parliament last week and which the opposition says will lead to a police state.

Here are some images from the protests:

Kiev Protests

Kiev Protests

Kiev Protests

Kiev Protests

Kiev Protests

Kiev Protests

Kiev Protests

Kiev Protests

Kiev Protests

Kiev Protests

Kiev Protests

Kiev Protests

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has promised to talk with the opposition.

Carbonated.TV