Ukraine police storm main Kiev ‘Maidan’ protest camp
Ukrainian police are storming the main anti-government protest camp in the capital, Kiev, after months of occupation.
Explosions are taking place, fireworks are being thrown and large fires have broken out in Independence Square, known locally as the Maidan.
Police have deployed water cannon.
During the day, at least 13 people were killed, including six policemen, as protesters and security forces clashed in the worst violence in weeks.
Security forces had given protesters a deadline of 18:00 local time (16:00 GMT) to end the unrest and had surrounded Independence Square, which has been the scene of a mostly peaceful protest camp since November.
The city’s metro service was suspended, and there were reports that cars were being prevented from coming in to the capital.
‘Island of freedom’
Protest leaders had insisted they would not retreat, though warned that they could not “exclude the possibility” of the authorities using force.
Then shortly before 18:00 GMT, police announced over loudspeakers that they were about to begin “an anti-terror operation”.
They began advancing with an armoured vehicle, dismantling barricades and fired stun grenades and water cannon.
Protesters lit fires and threw fireworks and Molotov cocktails. Many tents have been burned.
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