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21 May, 2015 15:35

Clashes, tires on fire outside Ukrainian parliament in Kiev

Clashes are reported in central Kiev where crowds of protesters are rallying against the economic crisis and the soaring cost of private loans. Local media say several people have tried to break into the Ukrainian parliament.

Four policemen and two protesters were reportedly injured in the clashes, as protesters blocked the exits of the parliament building.

The so-called "Financial Maidan" crowd is demanding that the parliament approves the law on restructuring private loans in foreign currency, which would convert people's debts into national currency at pre-crisis levels.

The protesters have set fire to car tires and attempted to break into the parliament building. Riot police have so far been able to hold them back.

BREAKING: Clashes, tires on fire outside Ukrainian parliament in Kiev (LIVE FEED) http://t.co/SCE7QN06qepic.twitter.com/B0GRxpkKx7

— RT (@RT_com) May 21, 2015

Life News however reports several activists did manage to get into the building, spreading banners with their demands and shouting in approval of those deputies that voted for the restructuring bill.

Earlier, the parliament failed to approve the second reading of a law that would allow borrowers to pay their loans back in hryvnas, at a rate of about 5 hryvnas to the dollar. The current exchange rate is about 20 hryvnas to the dollar, as Ukraine faces a deep financial crisis. The bill will now go through one more reading in the parliament.

Узнаём старый добрый Киев. Возле здания Рады жгут шины, кидают дымовые шашки и лупят друг друга палками. Ностальгия. pic.twitter.com/l4xQTqxUdE

— Новости. Как есть (@nourlnews) May 21, 2015

Several MPs have tried to calm the crowd down. Borislav Bereza from the Right Sector ultranationalist party told the crowds "the situation [with the law] was manipulated."

The "Financial Maidan" movement has been active for several months in Kiev, with demonstrations near the parliament and the National Bank. Their demands include refunds for those with deposits in banks hit worst by the crisis.

They also demand resignation of the country's Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk and Finance Minister Natalya Yaresko.

At least 11 "Financial Maidan" activists were into their fourth day of a hunger strike next to the parliament building Thursday. One of them has been taken to hospital.

Among the slogans the protesters are shouting is the infamous "Out with the gang!" heard numerous times during the 2013-14 Maidan uprising against President Yanukovich and his government, which eventually brought the current officials to power.

At the end of the day, several dozen people were still near the parliament building, preparing to stay there for the night.