Kiev Responds to New Anti-Protest Laws by Turning Up Protest Intensity

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A Ukrainian pro-EU protester stands behind a makeshift barricade in Independence Square in Kiev early on January 18, 2014.  Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on January 17 signed into law strict curbs on protests condemned by the US and Europe and branded a power grab by the opposition.      AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV        (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A Ukrainian pro-EU protester stands behind a makeshift barricade in Independence Square in Kiev early on January 18, 2014. Photo: GENYA SAVILOV/2014 AFP

Demonstrators in Ukraine's capital city have escalated their battles with police after pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych tightened laws against public gatherings. The unrest, which started peacefully, began when Yanukovych decided to "spurn a planned trade deal with the European Union and turn toward Russia instead," CNN reports. Now hundreds of protesters and police officers have been injured in clashes that lasted through the weekend. 

Riot police stand guard in front of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's office during a protest rally by pro-European opposition groups in Kiev on January 17, 2014. The European Union and the United States expressed concern after the Ukrainian parliament passed laws to curb the right to protest, a move the opposition called a power grab. Western rights groups meanwhile denounced the bills passed today as an attempt by President Viktor Yanukovych to impose a "dictatorship" and called on him to veto the legislation. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY        (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Riot police stand guard in front of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's office during a protest rally by pro-European opposition groups in Kiev on January 17, 2014l. Photo: SERGEI SUPINSKY/2014 AFP

The protesters, dozens of whom have been arrested, were recently barred from wearing masks and helmets or setting up equipment without permission. Needless to say, they are not listening. In the video below, demonstrators assemble a force-field using Porta Potties:

And a DIY catapult:

President Yanukovych said in a statement, "now, when peaceful actions are turning into mass unrest, accompanied by riots and arson attacks, the use of violence, I am convinced that such phenomena are a threat not only to Kiev but to the whole of Ukraine."

Riot police hold position after night clashing with the opposition demonstrator in the centre of the Ukrainian capital Kiev early on January 20, 2014. Opposition protesters were today locked in a tense standoff with Ukrainian police in Kiev after bloody clashes that wounded over 200 people, as President Viktor Yanukovych called emergency talks to resolve the crisis. The clashes, the worst in Kiev in recent times, came amid mounting anger over new restrictions on protests imposed by Yanukovych after almost two months of demonstrations against his refusal to sign a pact for integration with the EU.   AFP PHOTO/  ANATOLII BOIKO        (Photo credit should read ANATOLII BOIKO/AFP/Getty Images)
Riot police hold position after night clashing with the opposition demonstrator in the centre of the Ukrainian capital Kiev early on January 20, 2014. Photo: AFP/2014 AFP

On the other side is former heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, now a leader among the protesters in Kiev's Independence Square, who has worked to ease tensions. "It is vital that these negotiations bring real results, because they are the only way to get out of the conflict without its escalation," he said in a statement.

The photos coming out of the struggle are phenomenal, and only getting wilder, as one opposition leader told the New York Times, "The siege of the government quarter will only intensify."

A protester prepares to throw a brick as protesters clash with police during an opposition rally on January 19, 2014 in the centre of the Ukrainian capital Kiev in a show of defiance against strict new curbs on protests. 200,000 protesters expressed frustration over the lack of a clear programme from the opposition leaders after almost two months of protests over the government's ditching of a pact with the EU under Russian pressure. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY        (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
A protester prepares to throw a brick as protesters clash with police during an opposition rally on January 19, 2014 in the center of the Ukrainian capital Kiev in a show of defiance against strict new curbs on protests. Photo: SERGEI SUPINSKY/2014 AFP
Protesters clash with riot police on January 19, 2014 during an opposition rally in the centre of the Ukrainian capital Kiev in a show of defiance against strict new curbs on protests. 200,000 protesters expressed frustration over the lack of a clear programme from the opposition leaders after almost two months of protests over the government's ditching of a pact with the EU under Russian pressure. Ukrainian police used tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon in a bid to disperse the hundreds of people who sought to storm police cordons near the Verkhovna Rada parliament in the capital. AFP PHOTO / ANATOLII BOIKO        (Photo credit should read ANATOLII BOIKO/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters clash with riot police on January 19, 2014 during an opposition rally in the center of the Ukrainian capital Kiev in a show of defiance against strict new curbs on protests. Photo: AFP/2014 AFP
Protesters clash with riot police on January 19, 2014 during an opposition rally in the centre of the Ukrainian capital Kiev in a show of defiance against strict new curbs on protests. 200,000 protesters expressed frustration over the lack of a clear programme from the opposition leaders after almost two months of protests over the government's ditching of a pact with the EU under Russian pressure. Ukrainian police used tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon in a bid to disperse the hundreds of people who sought to storm police cordons near the Verkhovna Rada parliament in the capital. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY        (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters clash with riot police on January 19, 2014. Photo: SERGEI SUPINSKY/2014 AFP
A protester stands next to a bus in flames as protesters clash with riot police on January 19, 2014 during an opposition rally in the centre of the Ukrainian capital Kiev in a show of defiance against strict new curbs on protests. 200,000 protesters expressed frustration over the lack of a clear programme from the opposition leaders after almost two months of protests over the government's ditching of a pact with the EU under Russian pressure. Ukrainian police used tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon in a bid to disperse the hundreds of people who sought to storm police cordons near the Verkhovna Rada parliament in the capital. AFP PHOTO / ANATOLII BOIKO        (Photo credit should read ANATOLII BOIKO/AFP/Getty Images)
A protester stands next to a bus in flames as protesters clash with riot police on January 19, 2014. Photo: AFP/2014 AFP
A bare chested man waves a Ukrainian flag during clashes between the opposition and police in the centre of Kiev on January 20, 2014. Opposition protesters were today locked in a tense standoff with Ukrainian police in Kiev after bloody clashes that wounded over 200 people, as President Viktor Yanukovych called emergency talks to resolve the crisis.  AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY        (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
A bare chested man waves a Ukrainian flag during clashes between the opposition and police in the centre of Kiev on January 20, 2014. Photo: SERGEI SUPINSKY/2014 AFP
Protesters clash with police on January 19, 2014 during an opposition rally in the centre of the Ukrainian capital Kiev in a show of defiance against strict new curbs on protests. 200,000 protesters expressed frustration over the lack of a clear programme from the opposition leaders after almost two months of protests over the government's ditching of a pact with the EU under Russian pressure. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY        (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters clash with police on January 19, 2014 during an opposition rally. Photo: SERGEI SUPINSKY/2014 AFP
A protester sprays fire in the direction of the riot police during clashes in the centre of Kiev on January 20, 2014. EU foreign ministers on January 20 deplored violent protests in Kiev, saying the government was at fault for passing a package of repressive laws in an effort to tame pro-EU demonstrations. In Kiev on January 20, protesters were locked in a tense stand-off with security forces after hours of unprecedented clashes deep into the night left dozens wounded and parts of the city centre resembling a battlefield. AFP PHOTO/GENYA SAVILOV        (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A protester sprays fire in the direction of the riot police. Photo: GENYA SAVILOV/2014 AFP
The wreckage of a burnt bus is pictured as Riot policemen stand in the back ground after night clashing with the opposition in the centre of the Ukrainian capital Kiev early on January 20, 2014. Opposition protesters were today locked in a tense standoff with Ukrainian police in Kiev after bloody clashes that wounded over 200 people, as President Viktor Yanukovych called emergency talks to resolve the crisis. The clashes, the worst in Kiev in recent times, came amid mounting anger over new restrictions on protests imposed by Yanukovych after almost two months of demonstrations against his refusal to sign a pact for integration with the EU.   AFP PHOTO/  ANATOLII BOIKO        (Photo credit should read ANATOLII BOIKO/AFP/Getty Images)
The wreckage of a burnt bus is pictured as riot policemen stand in the back ground after night clashing with the opposition. Photo: AFP/2014 AFP
A protester waves a flag during the clash with police in the centre of the Ukrainian capital Kiev on January 20, 2014, after 200,000 turned up for an opposition rally in a show of defiance against strict new curbs on protests. Police used tear gas and smoke bombs in a bid to disperse hundreds of people who sought to storm police cordons near the Verkhovna Rada parliament in the capital. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY        (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
A protester waves a flag during the clash with police in the center of the Ukrainian capital Kiev on January 20, 2014. Photo: SERGEI SUPINSKY/2014 AFP