Almost 1 million people have turned out in Kyiv in defiance of a court order banning protests in the capital's Independence, European and St Michael's Squares.

The reaction follows on from Ukraine's U-turn on EU integration and yesterday's brutal attack on peaceful protesters in Kyiv's Independence Square.

This morning protesters gathered at the Shevchenko statue and marched down Kyiv's main boulevard, the Khreshchatic, and into Independence square where opposition leaders called a national strike aimed at forcing the resignation of the President, the PM and his government. They stressed that the action ia peaceful and demonstrators should not be provoked to use violence.  Protesters chanted "Re-vo-lu-tion".

According to various news reports, two buildings, the Kyiv City State Administration and the Trade Union office in central Kyiv have been occupied by protesters. 

At 1630 Kyiv time Berkut militia disbanded a large crowd of protesters on "Bankova" (where the offices of the President are located).  There are reports of many serious injuries, including a journalist from EURONEWS. Petro Poroshenko and Oleh Tiahnybok have said that some 40 masked radical protesters not representative of the peaceful protesters in Independence Square, and were sent into the crowd as provocateurs used impersonate a storm of the President's Administration and to give the authories the oppotunity to call a State of Emergency.

Leader of the Fatherland faction in parliament, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, said: "We know that the president wants to call the National Security and Defence Council to introduce the state of emergency in this country. Any use of force will produce the opposite reaction". He added that President Yanukovych and his inner circle were behind the acts of provocation taking place in Kyiv today and behind the crackdown on the pro-European protest.

Protests have also taken place in many cities accross Ukraine today including in regions previously regarded as strongholds of the Party of the Regions.


Financial Times: Mass demonstrations shake Kiev as Ukrainians call for revolution

USA Today: Anti-government mass rally in Ukraine turns violent

BBC: Clashes amid huge Ukraine protest against U-turn on EU

The Guardian: Ukraine rocked by largest street protests since Orange Revolution

SKY NEWS: Ukraine Anti-Government Demos Gain Strength

BBC WS: Ukrainians demand impeachment (Newshour - Radio)

BBC: Ukraine protesters storm Kiev city council

Reuters: Ukrainians hold mass rally against Yanukovich's U-turn on Europe

Bloomberg Business week: Ukraine: Tens of thousands march through Kiev

Forbes: Ukraine Moves To Join EU In Russia Snub

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