Police forces who raided Ukraine’s pro-European protest camp in the capital of Kiev early on Wednesday withdrew later in the morning.
Just after midnight local time, thousands of police descended on Kiev’s central Independence Square to clear barricades and tents in a stand-off with demonstrators. By 9 a.m. local time, the riot police had moved on to force protesters out of the capital’s municipal city government building that they had been occupying for more than a week. A couple hours later the security forces had left, a sign that protesters still gathered there took as a victory, the Financial Times reports.
There have been no reports of violence — as there were when police launched a similar raid in the protest camp 10 days ago — and eight protesters were detained, all of whom were later released.
Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the raid, saying in a statement that “the United States stands with the people of Ukraine.”
Mass protests have swept the capital since late November, after President Yanukovych backed away from a pact to strengthen Ukraine’s ties with the European Union in a bid to avoid risking the country’s trade with Russia.