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Amid violent crackown, Ukrainian protestors say their objective is revolution, not rally

International condemnation of violence toward protestors following "brutal" disbursement tactics in Kiev on Saturday adds to mounting opposition against Ukrainian President Viktor F. Yanukovich.

By JC Finley
Amid violent crackown, Ukrainian protestors say their objective is revolution, not rally
Demonstrators opposed to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych seek his ouster, following his November 21, 2013 announcement that Ukraine would not be joining the EU. (UPI/Monika Graff) | License Photo

Dec. 2 (UPI)-- As protests against Ukrainian President Viktor F. Yanukovich in Kiev are intensifying, so too are the police tactics.

Police have recently begun using tear gas and batons against demonstrators. On Saturday, "brutal" disbursement tactics were used against several hundred peaceful protestors. The violent police action garnered international condemnation.

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The U.S. Department of State released a statement on Saturday that both urged non-violence and EU membership reconsideration. It reads, in part, "The United States condemns the violence by government authorities against peaceful demonstrators in Kyiv today. We urge Ukraine's leaders to respect their people's right to freedom of expression and assembly... We continue to support the aspirations of the Ukrainian people to achieve a prosperous European democracy. European integration is the surest course to economic growth and strengthening Ukraine’s democracy."

European Parliament President Martin Schulz tweeted his own outrage at the violence used against protestors.

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The next day, demonstrators and police officers clashed outside the presidential administration building. Protestors launched smoke bombs and stun grenades while police responded with tear gas canisters. One hundred police officers and fifty protestors were reported injured.

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Meanwhile, demonstrations sympathetic to the removal of the Ukrainian president have emerged. In Washington, DC organizers used Facebook to rally protestors outside the Ukrainian Embassy on Saturday and protestors outside the White House on Sunday. The video below captures Sunday's protest at the White House.

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Demonstrations in Kiev began after Yanukovich announced on November 21 that Ukraine would not be joining the European Union, a move that was seen as bowing to pressure from Russia and thwarting Ukraine's attempt to advance its economy. Demonstrators are now calling for the president's resignation.

[U.S. Department of State] [New York Times]

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