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KIEV, January 19 (RIA Novosti) – An anti-government rally turned violent in Ukraine’s capital Kiev on Sunday as protesters attacked riot police with smoke pellets and officers used truncheons and tear gas against the crowd.
Ukraine’s UNIAN news agency reported that protesters are currently trying to break through police cordons and buses blocking entry to a street where the Cabinet of Ministers is headquartered.
The opposition rally, attended by about 10,000, according to police estimates, began on Ukraine’s Independence Square on Sunday afternoon.
The meeting’s participants, angered by the recently adopted anti-protest laws, have ruled to elect an interim government.
About an hour later, about 500 activists wearing helmets and gas masks approached a police cordon in downtown Kiev and attempted to break through police lines towards the government building.
“The young people started throwing firecrackers and smoke pellets at officers and hit them with sticks,” UNIAN reported. “Police, in their turn, used truncheons and tear gas.”
A group of young men set a police bus on fire.
A dozen more buses carrying riot police, as well as a water cannon and several ambulances, were seen approaching the area.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.