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IN PHOTOS: Catastrophic violence in Ukraine protests

February 20, 2014 17:41 IST

IN PHOTOS: Catastrophic violence in Ukraine protests

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A shaky truce crumbled in troubled Kiev on Thursday morning, when gunfire erupted at Independence Square which has been ground zero for anti-government protesters in Ukraine.

At least 20 protesters died, said Oleg Musiy, head of the protesters' medical service. A policeman was also killed, the interior ministry said, CNN reported.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich accused pro-European opposition leaders on Wednesday of trying to seize power by force after at least 26 people died earlier in the worst violence since the former Soviet republic gained independence.

After a night of petrol bombs and gunfire on Independence Square, black smoke billowed from a burned out trade union building that protest organisers had used as a headquarters.

Security forces had occupied about a third of the square -- the part which lies closes to government offices and parliament -- with protesters pouring in to reinforce their defences on the remainder of a plaza they have dubbed "Euro-Maidan".

The protests first erupted in November when President Yanukovych rejected a landmark association and trade deal with the EU in favour of closer ties with Russia.

Since then, the protests spread across Ukraine, with the main demand of snap presidential and parliamentary elections, BBC reported.

Here are the photographs:

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Image: Anti-government protesters throw missiles during clashes with riot police at the Independence Square in Kiev
Photographs: David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters

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Smoke rises above Independence Square during anti-government protests in central Kiev in the early hours of Tuesday.

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Photographs: Petro Zadorozhny/Reuters
Tags: Ukraine , Kiev

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Fireworks explode near anti-government protester during clashes with riot police at the Independence Square in Kiev on Tuesday.

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Photographs: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters
Tags: Ukraine , Kiev

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Anti-government protesters carry an injured man on a stretcher after clashes with riot police in the Independence Square in Kiev on Thursday.

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Photographs: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters
Tags: Ukraine , Kiev

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Anti-government protesters stand behind burning barricades in Kiev's Independence Square on Wednesday.

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Photographs: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters
Tags: Ukraine , Kiev

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Armed police take up positions during clashes with anti-government protesters in Independence Square in Kiev on Thursday.

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Photographs: Maksim Liukov/Reuters
Tags: Ukraine , Kiev

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Anti-government protesters are seen outside the destroyed district police department in Lviv.

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Photographs: Marian Striltsiv/Reuters
Tags: Ukraine , Lviv

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An anti-government protester carries tyres through the rubble after violence erupted in the Independence Square in Kiev on Thursday.

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Photographs: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters
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The bodies of dead anti-government protesters are seen on the pavement following clashes with riot police in Independence Square in Kiev on Thursday.

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Photographs: Maks Levin/Reuters
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Anti-government protesters use fireworks during clashes with Interior Ministry members and riot police in central Kiev on Tuesday.

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Photographs: Olga Yakimovich/Reuters

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Ukrainian Interior Ministry members stand in formation during clashes with anti-government protesters at Independence Square in central Kiev on Wednesday.

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Photographs: Olga Yakimovich/Reuters

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An anti-government protester poses for a picture inside a burnt bus at the site of clashes with Interior Ministry members and riot police in Kiev, on Wednesday.

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Photographs: Konstantin Grishin/Reuters

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An anti-government protester gestures as smoke engulfs the Independence Square after violence erupted in Kiev on Thursday.

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Photographs: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters
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An anti-government protester carry the national flag as he walks trough the rubble after violence erupted in the Independence Square in Kiev on Thursday.


Photographs: Yannis Behrakis/Reuters
Tags: Ukraine , Kiev

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