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Kiev protests intensify on national day of unity

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Kiev protests intensify on national day of unity


As Ukraine marked its ‘National Unification Day’, the country has never seemed more divided.

This day in 1919 brought together the two halves of the country, one which had been under Russian rule, and the other part of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

In 2014, the streets of central Ukraine were full of thick black smoke and flames as protesters set fire to burning tyres.

Thousands took to the streets angered by news of the deaths of two protesters killed by gunshot wounds in clashes with riot police overnight.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov denied the deaths were by police, saying they did not carry live ammunition.

A third was said to have died from injuries after falling from the roof of the Dynamo football stadium. There were also unconfirmed rumours that two more bodies had been found with signs of torture.

Earlier Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich met opposition leaders for three hours. Afterwards, boxer-turned-activist leader Vitali Klitschko told the crowds gathered in Independence Square that he had asked the president to call a snap election but received no reply. He said he had also called for the new laws to be repealed which the president had said he would consider.

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