The ongoing battles between anti-government demonstrators and the police in Ukraine’s capital turned deadly overnight when at least two protesters were shot and killed. A third person reportedly died in the chaos when he fell from the Dynamo Kiev stadium, where rocks and Molotov cocktails were thrown at authorities while fires burned across the surrounding area. “I express my deep regret over the loss of lives in the conflict triggered by political extremists,” said President Viktor Yanukovych.
The protests began as a response to a failed trade deal with the EU, but have intensified since the weekend:
Opponents of the government said three recent actions had been intended to incite the more radical protesters and sow doubt in the minds of moderates: the passing of laws last week restricting public assembly; the blocking of a protest march past Parliament on Sunday; and the sending of cellphone messages on Tuesday to people standing in the vicinity of the fighting that said, “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
To counter an anti-protest law banning helmets from protests, demonstrators have started to wear colanders on their heads instead.
Kiev: pro-EU protester wearing a colander while facing riot police. Photo: Anatolii Stepanov/Demotix pic.twitter.com/XE3yNyCutA— Kety Shapazian (@KetyDC) January 21, 2014
The rest of the images from the ground are much less whimsical: