Mass protest rallies continue Ukraine-wide.
As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, several thousand demonstrators were rallying on Kyiv's central square Maidan Nezalezhnosti and Khreshchatyk Street. According to media reports, barricades around the square were torn down in the small hours of Wednesday. Protesters vehemently resisted attempts to dismantle their tents. Police detained nearly a dozen protesters. 6 protesters and 9 policemen injured in clashes were hospitalized. Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko explained that the central part of the city had to be cleared for traffic. He said that no forcible dispersal of the protest rally was planned. "I assure everyone: there will be no dispersal. Nobody is infringing upon the people's right to a peaceful protest. However, the rights and legitimate interests of other people cannot be ignored. The capital city's normal functioning must not be disrupted," Zakharchenko said. He urged the protesters not to yield to provocations and warned that any illegal actions against police officers would be punished "proportionally". He denied online media reports about the use of tear gas by police and about elderly people detained and beaten inside police buses. The riot police cordons around Maidan Nezalezhnosti and Khreshchatyk Street were lifted on Wednesday morning while most approaches to the central part of Kyiv remained blocked by road police.