Demonstrators try to break through a line of riot police in Ukraine, where protests have erupted over President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision to abandon a European Union trade pact, and instead seek closer ties with Russia.
Ukraine, an ex-Soviet state that borders four EU countries, has long been caught between East and West. Now, in the wake of Yanukovich’s move towards Moscow, hundreds of thousands of people have flocked to pro-Europe protests.
26 Nov 2013. KIEV, Ukraine. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Students lift their hands beneath a huge European Union flag at a rally in support of EU integration.
Pro-Europe protests that began in late November have grown from tens of thousands to as many as 350,000 people on December 1, when hundreds also occupied Kiev's city hall.
The following day, Yanukovich's government struggled to show that it was still functioning, with protesters blocking the approach road to the main government building with trash bins and other obstacles and many employees turned back.
29 Nov 2013. KIEV, Ukraine. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov
A man with chained hands tears a portrait of Yanukovich at a pro-EU protest.
The scenes of so many demonstrators like him gathered in Kiev have evoked memories of the 2004-5 Orange Revolution protests against sleaze and electoral fraud, which brought hundreds of thousands out on to the streets and doomed Yanukovich's first bid for the presidency.
These were co-led by the now jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, a fierce opponent of Yanukovich, whose imprisonment was a sticking point in negotiations with the EU.
30 Nov 2013. KIEV, Ukraine. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
A man's face is caked with blood, after he was injured during a scuffle at a demonstration in support of EU integration.
The protests have been punctuated by violence, with police using tear gas and stun grenades near the presidential administration, and later clashing with a group of masked protesters trying to pull down a monument to Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin.
TV footage showed special forces officers striking people on the legs and body with batons or kicking them as they lay on the ground.