Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

In Pictures: Tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators march in Kiev

Demonstrators gather during a rally in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013
Demonstrators gather during a rally in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013
Ukrainian protesters gather over barrels with bonfires to warm themselves at the Independence Square in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Saturday, Nov.
Injured protesters receive medical help in ambulance after Ukrainian riot police broke up a rally demanding the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych, at the Independence Square in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013
Protesters clash with police at the presidential office in Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013
Protesters clash with police at Presidential office in Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. As many as 100,000 demonstrators chased away police to rally in the center of Ukraine's capital on Sunday, defying a government ban on protests on Independence Square, in the biggest show of anger over the president's refusal to sign an agreement with the European Union. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Smoke engulfs protesters and police as they clash outside the presidential office in Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. As many as 100,000 demonstrators chased away police to rally in the center of Ukraine's capital on Sunday, defying a government ban on protests on Independence Square, in the biggest show of anger over the president's refusal to sign an agreement with the European Union. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Demonstrators gather during a rally in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013
Demonstrators gather during a rally in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013
Demonstrators gather during a rally in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013
Demonstrators gather during a rally in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. As many as 100,000 demonstrators chased away police to rally in the center of Ukraine's capital on Sunday, defying a government ban on protests on Independence Square, in the biggest show of anger over the president's refusal to sign an agreement with the European Union. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Demonstrators gather during a rally in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. As many as 100,000 demonstrators chased away police to rally in the center of Ukraine's capital on Sunday, defying a government ban on protests on Independence Square, in the biggest show of anger over the president's refusal to sign an agreement with the European Union. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Demonstrators gather during a rally in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013
Ukrainian Interior ministry soldiers guard the Independence Square in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013
Ukrainian riot police push people to an underground crossing after dispersing a rally at the Independence Square in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013
An Ukrainian orthodox priest points as police officers guard the Independence Square in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013
Ukrainian riot police cordon off the Independence Square in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.
Ukrainian riot police officers detain a protester as they break up a rally at the Independence Square in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. The riot police used tear gas when they dispersed the crowd of about 400 protesters who were demanding the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych, demonstrators said. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
Ukrainian riot police officers seal off the Independence Square in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013
Injured protesters look for medical help in ambulance after Ukrainian riot police broke up a rally demanding the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych, at the Independence Square in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013
Ukrainian riot police officers detain an activist during a rally demanding the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych, at the Independence Square in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013
Ukrainian riot police officers detain an activist during a rally demanding the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych, at the Independence Square in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013
An unidentified Ukrainian man talks to police officers as they surround the Independence square wearing gas masks during an opposition rally in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013
An unidentified Ukrainian man talks to police officers as they surround the Independence square wearing gas masks during an opposition rally in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013
Ukrainian opponents of European integration with the European Union attend an action "Solemn funeral of Association with the EU" in support of the decision of President Viktor Yanukovych not sign agreements with the EU in the center of Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Ukrainian police officers wear gas masks as they surround the Independence square during an opposition rally in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013
Ukrainian opponents of European integration with the European Union attend an action "Solemn funeral of Association with the EU" in support of the decision of President Viktor Yanukovych not sign agreements with the EU in the center of Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Protesters clash with police at Presidential office in Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. As many as 100,000 demonstrators chased away police to rally in the center of Ukraine's capital on Sunday, defying a government ban on protests on Independence Square, in the biggest show of anger over the president's refusal to sign an agreement with the European Union. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A protester uses a chain as he and others clash with police outside of the presidential administration building in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013

Tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators are marching through Ukraine's capital to protest the president's refusal to sign an agreement with the European Union (EU).

The demonstrators are singing the national anthem and chanting "Ukraine is Europe" while waving EU and Ukrainian flags.

Protests have been held daily in Kiev for more than a week after President Viktor Yanukovych backed away from an agreement that would have established free trade and deepened political co-operation between Ukraine and the EU.

He justified the decision by saying Ukraine could not afford to break trade ties with Russia.

The EU agreement was to have been signed on Friday and since then the protests have gained strength. Many of those taking part in Sunday's protest came from western Ukraine, where pro-EU sentiment is particularly strong.

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