Kiev Riot Police Withdraws, Attempt to Oust Protesters Fails
Hundreds of anti-government protesters inside city hall in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, have pushed back riot police trying to dislodge them, BBC reported.
Clashes erupted hours after riot police moved in to clear protesters from nearby Independence Square - prompting the US to express "disgust".
The interior minister has now given assurances no force will be used.
Protesters used hoses to fire icy water at the police, said reports, and events were carried live on local television.
Protesters also announced that the police had pulled back from the main camp in
Independence Square, which they moved on in the early hours of Wednesday.
"I want everyone to calm down," said Interior Minister Vitali Zakharchenko in a statement.
"There will be no storming of the square. No one will violate your rights to protest peacefully, but do not ignore the rights... of other citizens."
Overnight, riot police and interior ministry officers had dismantled some barriers and tents, with police saying they were trying to free up a passage through the square for traffic.
The protests were sparked by the government's refusal to sign a deal on closer ties with the European Union.
The U-turn followed pressure from Russia, which has said Ukraine's free trade deal with the EU will flood the Russian market.
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