Police clash with protesters in attempt to clear barricades in center of Ukrainian capital

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Associated Press

Posted on December 11, 2013 at 3:02 AM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 11 at 5:04 AM

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — An overnight stand-off between security forces and anti-government protesters in Ukraine's capital is extending into Wednesday morning.

Several thousand riot police used their shields to push back protesters and successfully removed some tents and barricades at a large protest camp in downtown Kiev. But the ranks of protesters swelled through the night, shoving back at the police lines to keep them away from key sites at the camp.

Several demonstrators and police were injured in the scuffles and ambulances were seen on the square. But police appeared to be under orders to refrain from using excessive force, unlike the violent beatings of protesters in recent weeks.

The protests began in late November when President Viktor Yanukovych (yah-noo-KOH'-vich) backed away from a pact that would deepen the former Soviet republic's economic ties with the 28-nation European Union. Surveys indicated that nearly half the country's people supported the pact.

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APPHOTO XAZ129: Ukrainian riot policemen block Pro-European Union activists in their tent camps on the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013. Security forces clashed with protesters as they began tearing down opposition barricades and tents set up in the center of the Ukrainian capital early Wednesday, in an escalation of the weeks-long standoff threatening the leadership of President Viktor Yanukovych. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) (11 Dec 2013)

<<APPHOTO XAZ129 (12/11/13)££

APPHOTO XAZ126: Pro-European Union activists try to strengthen the barricades next to their tent camps as riot policemen block them on the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013. Security forces clashed with protesters as they began tearing down opposition barricades and tents set up in the center of the Ukrainian capital early Wednesday, in an escalation of the weeks-long standoff threatening the leadership of President Viktor Yanukovych. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) (11 Dec 2013)

<<APPHOTO XAZ126 (12/11/13)££

APPHOTO XAZ125: Pro-European Union activists try to strengthen the barricades next to their tent camps as riot policemen block them on the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013. Security forces clashed with protesters as they began tearing down opposition barricades and tents set up in the center of the Ukrainian capital early Wednesday, in an escalation of the weeks-long standoff threatening the leadership of President Viktor Yanukovych. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) (11 Dec 2013)

<<APPHOTO XAZ125 (12/11/13)££

APPHOTO XAZ121: Ukrainian riot policemen block Pro-European Union activists in their tent camps on the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013. Security forces clashed with protesters as they began tearing down opposition barricades and tents set up in the center of the Ukrainian capital early Wednesday, in an escalation of the weeks-long standoff threatening the leadership of President Viktor Yanukovych. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) (11 Dec 2013)

<<APPHOTO XAZ121 (12/11/13)££

APPHOTO XAZ119: Ukrainian riot policemen storm Pro-European Union activists in their tent camps on the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013. Security forces clashed with protesters as they began tearing down opposition barricades and tents set up in the center of the Ukrainian capital early Wednesday, in an escalation of the weeks-long standoff threatening the leadership of President Viktor Yanukovych. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) (11 Dec 2013)

<<APPHOTO XAZ119 (12/11/13)££

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