Ukraine protesters hold firm as US mulls sanctionsAgence France-Presse . Kiev
Ukrainian demonstrators celebrated holding three weeks of protests Thursday over the government’s decision to reject a historic EU deal, as the United States threatened sanctions after a failed police raid on the protest barricades.
Tensions in the capital eased after a showdown in the early hours of Wednesday, when riot police tried to drive the protest camp out of the iconic Independence Square in the ex-Soviet country’s deepest political crisis in a decade.
The president, Viktor Yanukovych, — whose refusal to sign an integration deal with the EU sparked the first protests on November 21 – promised at talks with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton he would sign the pact, she said.
But Yanukovych remained under immense pressure after riot police Wednesday failed to shift thousands of demonstrators from Independence Square in a raid that drew international condemnation.
Protesters fortified their positions overnight by filling plastic bags with snow which they used as sandbags as well as pouring water over the barricades in sub-zero temperatures.
‘The night went well,’ protester Oleg Polivko said after standing guard by the structure.
He said the failed raid ‘was a good lesson’ for the authorities. ‘They made their conclusions: you cannot fight with your own people.’
Over a thousand protesters spent the night on the square, bolstered by their ability to withstand the police in the raid, which injured about 30 people.
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