Violence erupts between police & protesters in downtown Kiev during Maidan anniversary rally (VIDEO)
Riot police detained five protesters and escorted them into police buses, live coverage by Hromadske TV (Public TV) showed. Medics were dispatched to the site of the protests.
Hromadske TV aired a live broadcast from near the building of the President’s Administration on Kiev’s main Khreshchatyk Street.
Around 10 people were injured, a spokesman for Ukraine’s International Committee of the Red Cross told Hromadske TV.
“There is information, that nearly 10 people have been injured,” the spokesman said, adding that one of them had suffered a brain injury.
One policeman was seriously injured while five protesters were detained, the head of Kiev’s National Police, Andrey Krishchenko, said, according to Hromadske TV (Public TV).
“One of the policeman suffered a closed brain injury,” Krishchenko said, adding that “the injury is serious.”
A group of protesters was heading towards Kiev’s central Independence Square (Maidan Square), Interfax Ukraine reported. The demonstrators broke through the police cordon at the European Square (Evropeiskaya Square), according to reports, which added that police were trying to contain the crowd.
Yury Zozulya, head of Kiev’s National Police, said the violence was the result of provocations, saying “These are not scuffles. People are looking for provocations and a [dramatic] picture,” Zozulya said, as cited by Hromadske TV.
According to local media estimates, nearly 1,000 people gathered at Kiev’s central Independence Square (Maidan Square) on Sunday to commemorate those who died in the protests three years ago.
Later, several hundred demonstrators calling for a trade blockade against eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region headed to the Presidential Administration Building, where they reportedly tried to set up a make-shift tent camp. The attempt was cut short by police, which led to the clashes.
Protesters tried to break through the police cordon near Ukraine’s National Bank and the administration building, which also sparked clashes. Protesters at Independence Square also made an attempt to break through police lines, according to reports.
Some protesters were provoking security officials, shouting insults, hitting them on their helmets, and throwing firecrackers, a local Hromadske reporter said.
People commemorating the events of 2014 at Independence Square (Maidan Square) brought candles, flowers, and photos of the people that died during the protests. Roads were shut in downtown Kiev and security was stepped up for the day. Police set up metal detector units and carried out identity checks on those who wanted to enter the city center.
Four days of the Maidan protests, February 18-21, 2014, were the deadliest. About 100 people are believed to have died in clashes between police and radical groups, which used firearms and Molotov cocktails.