BBC News – Ukraine crisis: Police storm main Kiev ‘Maidan’ protest camp

Kiev, Ukraine

Kiev, Ukraine

Police are storming the main protest camp in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, which has been occupied since November.

Explosions are taking place, fireworks are being thrown and large fires have broken out in Independence Square.

On Tuesday at least 18 people were killed, including seven policemen, in the worst violence seen in weeks.

President Viktor Yanukovych blamed the violence on opposition leaders, but said it was still “not too late to stop the conflict”.

He was speaking after a late-night meeting with opposition figures Vitaly Klitschko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

Exactly a month ago, the nation was shocked by the deaths of protesters during clashes with riot police in central Kiev. On Tuesday Ukrainians again saw dead bodies strewn on the city streets, dozens of injured people.

Despite the shock, many came to the main protest camp, the Maidan, to support activists trained to defend barricades from the riot police.

Crowds grew as streams of people, including women, headed to the Maidan. Many had to walk as Kiev’s metro was completely shut down for the first time since Ukraine gained independence in 1991.

The authorities said they had closed the metro because of the danger of “terror acts” in the capital.

Mr Klitschko, who leads the Udar (Punch) party, told Ukraine’s Hromadske TV that the president had given the protesters only one option, leave the Maidan and go home.

Read complete article via BBC News – Ukraine crisis: Police storm main Kiev ‘Maidan’ protest camp.