Ukraine capital hit by fresh protest violence

Politicians among several reported hurt in riot after jailing of men who tried to blow up a statue of Lenin.

    Several people including politicians were seriously injured when Ukrainian protesters and police clashed in Kiev following the jailing of three men accused of trying to blow up a statue of Lenin.

    Fighting erupted late on Friday after a Ukrainian court handed down a six-year jail sentence to Igor Musiychuk, Volodymyr Spara and Sergiy Bevz.

    Supporters had gathered outside the court earlier in the to protest the ruling against them, claiming the trial and verdict had been a sham.

    Scuffles broke out when protesters hindered police vehicles carrying the men out of the court building.

    Yuriy Lutsenko, a former interior minister, was reported to have been among those injured during clashes. Lutsenko was released from prison in April 2013 after receiving a pardon by the Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovich.

    Protesters attempted to block the path and hurled large items at baton wielding riot police, who reciprocated by charging at demonstrators and using spray.

    Max Levin, a photographer who was trying to cover the clashes, said he was beaten by riot police.

    "They started to beat us with clubs, I was screaming: "I am journalist", but they didn't care," said Levin.

    One man, who was sprawled on the ground, said he could not walk after being injured by police. According to Ukrainian media, members of parliament were among those injured in the clashes.

    Yuriy Bublyk, a party member from the Svoboda party, said riot police had used tear gas against demonstrators.

    "We were standing here to support our patriots, who were prosecuted without justice, but authorities have used as usual, riot police, clubs, tear gas," said Bublyk.

    Tensions have been running high in Kiev since Yanukovich spurned the EU and embraced a deal with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, for a bailout of his country.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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