KIEV, Ukraine — Ukrainian activists battled police for a second night in the capital, defying new laws to subdue anti-government rallies that began two months ago.

By 8:45 p.m. Monday in Kiev, protesters throwing Molotov cocktails at police were met by rubber bullets and smoke bombs. Activists also began building a catapult to launch projectiles. The two sides exchanged smoke and sound bombs Sunday in subzero temperatures as police vehicles were burned. More than 200 people were injured.

President Viktor Yanukovych’s opponents have held out on Kiev’s Independence Square as demonstrations against his snub of a European Union cooperation deal got a boost from police crackdowns in November and December. Parliament passed laws last week to curb the protests, drawing rebukes from the EU and the U.S., which blamed the government for the latest violence.

“They wanted to frighten people but they gathered again –people showed their readiness to fight with the authorities, ignoring the laws,” Volodymyr Fesenko, head of the Penta Political Analysis Center in Kiev, said by phone. “There’s a radical mood and the authorities aren’t pleased. If they put more pressure on, there could be powerful resistance.”

The yield on Ukrainian government bonds due in 2023 rose 5 basis points to 8.37 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The cost to protect the nation’s debt against non-payment using five-year credit-default swaps increased 25 basis points to 721.

The latest clashes began when protesters, who had gathered on Independence Square for an eighth Sunday, tried to march on the parliament building about 1,640 feet away. People wearing orange helmets attacked buses used by police to block a street on the way, setting several on fire.


More than 100,000 people attended Sunday’s rally, Ukrainian TV reported. About 2,000 were on Independence Square Monday, while another 2,000 were on Hrushevskogo Street, the hub of the violence, the UNIAN and RBC news services said. Police said about 500 people were attacking them on that street, where protesters built barricades from burned-out buses.

Yanukovych said Sunday he’d set up a commission to resolve the crisis. While he said Monday in a statement that he understood why people had taken to the streets, he pledged to use “all legal means” to quell the unrest.

The clashes are the first since Dec. 1, when at least 109 people were hospitalized. Police also invaded the protesters’ camp on Dec. 11 before withdrawing.

More than 100 protesters had sought medical help and 42 were hospitalized, the Kiev City Council said. About 100 police officers were injured and 61 were hospitalized, according to the Interior Ministry.

Western politicians said the situation may persist as Yanukovych prepares to seek re-election next March.



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