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Kiev protesters turn square into fiery ring to thwart police

Antigovernment demonstrators stood on barricades during violent clashes with riot police in Kiev on Tuesday.
Antigovernment demonstrators stood on barricades during violent clashes with riot police in Kiev on Tuesday. Credit: SANDRO MADDALENA/AFP/Getty Images

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KIEV — With hundreds of riot police officers advancing from all sides after a day of deadly mayhem here in the Ukrainian capital, antigovernment protesters mounted a final desperate and seemingly doomed act of defiance late Tuesday evening, establishing a protective ring of fire around what remained of their all-but-conquered encampment on Independence Square.

Feeding the blazing defenses with blankets, tires, wood, sheets of plastic foam and anything else that might burn, the protesters hoped to prolong, for a while longer at least, a tumultuous protest movement against President Viktor F. Yanukovych, a leader who was democratically elected in 2010 but is widely reviled here as corrupt and authoritarian.

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