Two feared dead as police clash with protesters in Ukraine

by Reuters
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 08:08 GMT

* Two deaths reported in Kiev

* Police clash again with anti-government protesters (Edits, adds new details of violence)

KIEV, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Two demonstrators were on Wendesday reported killed in new anti-government unrest in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, inflaming protesters who confronted police shouting "Murderers" and "Glory to Ukraine!".

Reports spread that a man had been shot dead by a police sniper overnight and that another demonstrator had fallen to his death atop the Dynamo football stadium, scene of the clashes in central Kiev.

A Reuters cameraman was shown the body of a man identified as a protester who had gunshot wounds to the head but police denied that they had used any firearms in repelling protesters.

As snow fell, riot police staged a baton-charge to push back protesters and seized canisters of harmful chemicals which they said the demonstrators had been readying to use against them.

But after the riot police, known as Berkut, withdrew, protesters returned to the spot confronting police lines across a 40-metre 'no-man's land.

The latest clashes broke out when police, using teargas, tried to dismantle a protest camp but were repelled by demonstrators hurling home-made petrol bombs, witnesses said.

The demonstrators have been out in the street for several weeks, angered by President Viktor Yanukovich's decision to shun a trade pact with the European Union and instead accept financial aid from Russia.

But events took a violent turn on Sunday after a mass rally called by the opposition to protest against sweeping new legislation that would prevent any sort of anti-government protest.

Yanukovich has suggested he is ready for peace talks with the opposition but these have yet to materialise and opposition leader, boxer-turned-politician Vitaly Klitschko, returned to the barricades after being turned away by Yanukovich.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Writing by Richard Balmforth, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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