Mayhem descended on Kyiv today, not far from the city’s Independence Square, after Ukraine’s riot police tried to clear barricades and disperse protesters following the enactment of new laws imposing harsh penalties on unauthorized demonstrations and restricting freedom of assembly and speech. Police used tear gas, rubber bullets, and truncheons against protesters, who responded by throwing stones and petrol bombs and igniting tires and garbage. At least two people have been killed, reportedly by gunfire.
RFE/RL is liveblogging news, photos and tweets from our correspondents and others following events in Kyiv and elsewhere in the region.
Violence erupted when Ukrainian riot police sought to clear protesters and barricades from Hrushevsky Street in downtown Kyiv.
President Viktor Yanukovych met with opposition leaders today in an effort to stem the anti-government protests after two demonstrators were killed, reportedly as a result of gunshot wounds.
Correspondents Claire Bigg and Oleksandr Lashenko report on the far-right youth group Pravyy Sektor, which has vowed to fight the Ukrainian authorities to the bitter end.
Two journalists with RFE/RL’s Ukraine Service, Radio Svoboda, describe being brutally beaten by members of Ukraine’s Berkut riot police force while they were covering protests that turned violent on January 20.