25 people reported dead in resumed Kiev riots
KIEV, February 19 (RAPSI) - The Ukrainian Health Ministry reports 25 people dead as a a result of a newly escalating violent standoff between the anti-governmental protesters and the security forces trying to clear out downtown Kiev.
Large-scale protests resumed in Kiev on Tuesday as an increasingly aggressive crowd stormed the Ukrainian Parliament building, demanding the return of opposition control of the parliament and the presidency, as well as a restoration of the 2004 Constitution.
Unrest erupted around noon Tuesday as thousands of people marched on the parliament building, where a standoff was taking place over proposed constitutional reforms that the opposition said could provide a way out of the political crisis that is paralyzing the country.
Particularly aggressive protesters have broken into buildings in the city center, burned tires, and thrown stones at police officers and cars.
The violence that ensued lasted for hours and resulted in numerous deaths and hundreds of injuries. Kiev city law enforcement officials said that nine police officers were killed during the fighting and that almost 300 were injured, 35 of them critically.
Vyacheslav Veremei, a journalist of the Ukrainian newspaper Vesti, is among those killed. Other five unnamed journalists were taken to hospitals with injuries.
The Ukrainian Interior Ministry says that the law enforcement officers are not permitted to use lethal weapons and that people might have been killed by aggressive opposition members.
"Taking into account the nature of the injuries sustained by the civilians that lost their lives… and the types of weapons that have been confiscated (from the protesters) it is fair to assume that these wounds may have been caused… by the protesters,” reads a statement on the Interior Ministry's website.