Protesters and police clash in Ukraine, more than 1,400 injured

Violent clashes between protesters and security forces in a 24-hour period in Kiev resulted in more than 1,400 people seeking medical assistance.
Posted By JC Finley Follow @JC_Finley Contact the Author   |   Jan. 21, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Violent clashes between protesters and security forces in Kiev since Monday resulted in more than 1,400 people seeking medical assistance.

Oleh Musiy, the medical service coordinator for the anti-government demonstrations said in a briefing on Tuesday that "Over the past 24 hours the medical service and mobile brigades, which are located in the immediate vicinity of the barricades (a total of ten), have been contacted by 1,400 victims." Most of the injuries were to the face, arms,and legs.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Interior reported that more than 160 policemen sought medical care after clashes with protesters in Kiev between Sunday and Tuesday. Their injuries included broken bones, burns, stab wounds, and poisoning.

The violent outbreak appears to be contained to an area around Hrushevskyy Street, near the main protest site at Independence Square. Opposition leader and former boxing champion Vitali Klitschko alleged the Ukrainian government had paid thugs -- "titushki" -- to commit violence at demonstrations in an effort to de-legitimize protesters' demands. BBC spoke to two "titushki" who claimed they were paid and given hammers to "stir up trouble."

Opposition leaders have objected to the use of violence, whether orchestrated by the government or driven by an opposition faction comprised of nationalist groups who believe violent rebellion may advance their cause.

Protests began in November 2013 following Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's announcement that Ukraine would not join the EU. Pro-EU rallies have continued since November, with protesters voicing opposition to Ukraine's economic ties to Russia.

[Interfax Ukraine News Agency] [BBC] [Washington Post]

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