Mass anti-government rallies continued on Wednesday Ukraine-wide, with demonstrators demanding the government's resignation and preterm presidential and parliamentary elections.
Protests erupted last week, after the government refused to sign an association agreement with the EU at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius. After riot police beat demonstrators in Kyiv on Saturday morning, the rallies grew in number and became anti-government. On Tuesday, the parliament refused to dismiss the Azarov government. The pro-government majority voted down a resolution on the government's resignation tabled by the opposition. Interior Forces and riot police beefed up security around the buildings of the presidential administration and the Cabinet of Ministers picketed by demonstrators. A district court in Kyiv has ruled to detain for 60 days nine young men suspected of organizing mass riots near the presidential administration on Sunday. It was reported earlier that dozens of protesters wearing masks attempted to break through a police cordon to the presidential administration building. They pelted policemen with smoke grenades, stones, metal rods, and firecrackers. The police retaliated, throwing stun and gas grenades at the rioters. The clash continued for about three hours. Dozens of policemen, demonstrators, and journalists were injured. The opposition claimed that the attack on the police cordon was staged by provocateurs hired by the authorities.