Police replied by firing rubber bullets and stun and smoke
grenades from trucks and from the tops of buildings, forcing the protesters back by about 100 meters.
The renewed clashes piled more pressure on President Viktor
Yanukovich to strike a deal with the opposition to reduce his
presidential powers and defuse a 12-week crisis that has turned Kiev
city center into a fortified camp of resistance.
Inside parliament, where opposition leaders brought proceedings to a
halt by blocking the speaker's tribune, opposition leader Vitaly
Klitschko urged Yanukovich to take riot police off the streets to
avert further "conflict in society".
"I am appealing to the president. Take the Berkut (riot police) and
interior forces off the streets. Do this and it will provide a way
out. It will be the decision of a real man," the
boxer-turned-politician told reporters inside parliament.
"We are not talking any more about hours but about minutes."
The protesters had marched to the parliament building to press the
opposition leaders' calls for Yanukovich to relinquish what they
call his "dictatorial" powers and particularly his control of the
economy and the security forces.
But when they were blocked by a line of trucks about 100 meters from
the building, they hurled stones at police, a Reuters witness said,
and set three trucks ablaze with petrol bombs. Ukrainian television
said five protesters had been hurt in the clashes. The report could
not immediately be confirmed.
As the clashes extended into early afternoon, protesters ransacked a
nearby office of Yanukovich's Party of the Regions.
Yanukovich has been battling the opposition-led street protests
since he walked away from a trade pact with the European Union in
November and opted instead for forging closer economic ties with
Russia, Ukraine's Soviet-era master.
The protests have since broadened into a revolt against perceived
sleaze and corruption in the Yanukovich leadership.
"WE'RE NOT FOR SALE"
Opposition leaders are pressing him to accept curbs on his powers
that would allow them to form an independent government to end the
street unrest, now in its third month, and to save the economy from
[to top of second column]
In what has become a geo-political tussle redolent of the Cold War,
the United States and its Western allies are urging Yanukovich to
turn back to Europe and the prospect of an IMF-supported recovery,
while Russia accuses them of meddling.
Yanukovich, who must soon name his choice for a new prime minister,
got a boost on Monday when Moscow said it would give Kiev a fresh
cash injection this week of $2 billion — part of a $15 billion aid
package to shore up a heavily indebted economy.
News of the fresh credit from Russia failed to cheer the currency
market, where the troubled Ukrainian hryvnia fell by up to 1.6
percent against the dollar on Tuesday, Reuters trading system
It also failed to impress the protesters.
"If all the money that today's authorities have stolen was returned
we'd be able to help Russia with our money," said 35-year-old Serhiy
Vashko. "We don't need their money."
"We don't need this money from Russia because it is not meant to
help but to buy us. But we are not for sale. Can't they see that
this is simply a dirty bribe?," said Valentin Sypko.
Thousands of protesters have turned Kiev city center and its main
Independence Square into a fortified camp, surrounded by barricades
of tires, sandbags and barbed wire. They say they will not withdraw
until Yanukovich has made real concessions.
At least six people have died in the unrest, though there had been
no violent clashes between radicals and riot police for more than
three weeks until Tuesday's fresh outbreak.
(Writing by Richard Balmforth; editing by Gareth Jones)
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