KIEV, February 19 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine’s acting prime minister said Wednesday that the violent protests that have rocked the capital were an attempt to seize power by force.
“Both society and authorities strongly condemn the violence. This is not a sign of democracy. … This is the manipulation of people’s minds and an attempt to take power by force,” Serhiy Arbuzov told a Cabinet meeting.
At least 25 people, including nine police officers, were killed in bloody, day-long clashes that ran into the early hours of Wednesday morning in the Ukrainian capital. Officials said more than 70 policemen suffered gunshot wounds in the fighting.
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.
In his address to the nation Wednesday, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said that opposition activists had crossed the line by calling for supporters to take up arms at mass protests intended to oust him from power.