Police Clash With Anti-Lockdown Protesters in Ukraine

People enjoy the beach in Odessa, Ukraine, this past summer. Tens of thousands of vacation-goers in Russia and Ukraine descended on Black Sea beaches, paying little attention to coronavirus safety measures. (AP Photo/Sergei Poliakov)

KIEV, Ukraine (AFP) — Forty policemen were injured during clashes with anti-lockdown protesters in Ukraine’s capital Kiev on Tuesday, police said in a statement.

Several thousand protesters — including entrepreneurs and small businesses owners — gathered on Maidan (Independence) Square in central Kiev to take part in a rally against recently announced virus measures.

Last week the ex-Soviet republic said it will shutter non-essential business, gyms and schools starting January 8 in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus. 

The restrictions will be in place until January 24.

Protesters attempted to put up tents on the square but were stopped by the police.

Participants at the rally said law enforcement officers sprayed tear gas at the crowd, according to reports from local media. 

An AFP journalist saw ambulances heading towards the square and one injured activist being carried away from the crowd.

There have been no official figures on injuries among the protesters.

Kiev police said in a statement that forty officers suffered chemical burns to their eyes and one policeman sustained an injury to his head.

Ukraine has reported more than 909,000 coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic, some 15,000 of them fatal.

© Agence France-Presse

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