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Protesters flood Kyiv Sunday

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Angry anti-government protesters toppled a statue of former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin in the centre of Kyiv on Sunday and blockaded key government buildings amid huge street protests, raising the stakes in an escalating standoff with President Viktor Yanukovych. The biggest protest in the former Soviet republic since Ukraine's pro-democracy Orange Revolution in 2004 led the government to fire back. It announced an investigation of opposition leaders for an alleged attempt to seize power and warned the demonstrators they could face criminal charges.

  • A pro-European union activist holds a cut-out of paper heart as she addresses to police at the presidential office in Kiyv, Ukraine, Sunday.

    The Associated Press

    A pro-European union activist holds a cut-out of paper heart as she addresses to police at the presidential office in Kiyv, Ukraine, Sunday.

  • Pro-European Union activists shout slogans during a rally in the Independence Square in Kyiv Sunday.

    The Associated Press

    Pro-European Union activists shout slogans during a rally in the Independence Square in Kyiv Sunday.

  • Eugenia Tymoshenko, daughter of jailed Ukrainian former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko speaks to Pro-European Union activists during the rally. More than 200,000 angry Ukrainians occupied a central Kyiv square on Sunday, to denounce President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to turn away from Europe and align this ex-Soviet republic with Russia, as massive protests continued for a third week.

    The Associated Press

    Eugenia Tymoshenko, daughter of jailed Ukrainian former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko speaks to Pro-European Union activists during the rally. More than 200,000 angry Ukrainians occupied a central Kyiv square on Sunday, to denounce President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to turn away from Europe and align this ex-Soviet republic with Russia, as massive protests continued for a third week.

  • Independence Square is flooded with more than 200,000 angry Ukrainians Sunday.

    The Associated Press

    Independence Square is flooded with more than 200,000 angry Ukrainians Sunday.

  • A man dressed as a Cossack on a horse pauses during a Pro-European Union rally in Independence Square. The third week of protests continued Sunday.

    CP

    A man dressed as a Cossack on a horse pauses during a Pro-European Union rally in Independence Square. The third week of protests continued Sunday.

  • Pro-European Union activists in military helmets march along streets to block government offices in Kyiv.

    CP

    Pro-European Union activists in military helmets march along streets to block government offices in Kyiv.

  • Opposition leader Oleh Tyahnybok speaks to Pro-European Union activists during a rally in Independence Square in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians rallied in the centre of Kyiv on Sunday, denouncing President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to turn away from Europe in the biggest rally in years, raising the stakes in a tense political standoff gripping this ex-Soviet republic.

    CP

    Opposition leader Oleh Tyahnybok speaks to Pro-European Union activists during a rally in Independence Square in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians rallied in the centre of Kyiv on Sunday, denouncing President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to turn away from Europe in the biggest rally in years, raising the stakes in a tense political standoff gripping this ex-Soviet republic.

  • Riot police protect government buildings from Pro-European Union activists, pro-presidential supporters stand behind them.

    CP

    Riot police protect government buildings from Pro-European Union activists, pro-presidential supporters stand behind them.

  • Pro-European Union activists gather around a huge poster of jailed former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, bottom, during the rally.

    CP

    Pro-European Union activists gather around a huge poster of jailed former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, bottom, during the rally.

  • Riot police protect government buildings from Pro-European Union activists.

    CP

    Riot police protect government buildings from Pro-European Union activists.

  • Pro-European Union activists shout slogans during the rally.

    The Associated Press

    Pro-European Union activists shout slogans during the rally.

  • Ukrainian protesters smash a statue of Vladimir Lenin with a sledgehammer, in central Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday. Anti-government protesters have toppled the statue of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin in central Kiev amid huge protests gripping Ukraine. A group of protesters dragged down and decapitated the landmark statue Sunday evening after hundreds of thousands of others took to the streets to denounce the government's move away from Europe and toward Moscow.

    Efrem Lukatsky / The Associated Press

    Ukrainian protesters smash a statue of Vladimir Lenin with a sledgehammer, in central Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday. Anti-government protesters have toppled the statue of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin in central Kiev amid huge protests gripping Ukraine. A group of protesters dragged down and decapitated the landmark statue Sunday evening after hundreds of thousands of others took to the streets to denounce the government's move away from Europe and toward Moscow.

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