Hundreds of thousands of protesters amassed in Kiev today to protest new government legislation that bans anti-government rallies in the former Soviet republic. At the center of the demonstrations, which have rocked the Ukraine over the past two months, is an opposition movement that wants the country to join the European Union. The country's current leadership, led by President Viktor F. Yanukovich, has abandoned all maneuvering in the direction of the EU at the behest of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The ongoing protests have been far from tame. The opposition has gathered in 350,000-strong crowds to call for Yanukovich's resignation, often clashing with police. Violent government crackdowns have ensued. Police have swarmed protest camps and broken through barricades. Last month, John McCain dropped by to meet with government and opposition leaders and to tell the government to chill. A statue of Lenin was torn down by angry protesters.
Today's protests were no less eventful.
"Boxer-turned-politician Vitaly Klitschko, one of the main opposition leaders and speakers at the main rally, went to the scene of the clashes about 100 meters from Kiev's Independence Square, and sought to persuade protesters to refrain from attacking police."
As you can see, things got a little messy.
On the Twitter machine, there are reports that the police are set to deploy water cannons in the below-freezing weather.
Водомет. Фото Сергія Грішина pic.twitter.com/xfp4tfIrH0— Tetiana Danylenko (@tdanylenko) January 19, 2014
For more, here's a livestream of the goings on:
Live streaming video by Ustream