Scenes of war reappear in Europe
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Scenes of war reappear in Europe

The chaos was straight out of a war movie as Ukrainian protesters clashed with police in Independence Square yesterday.

Near where Natalia sat, protesters were frantically screaming at people to get out of the way of the stretcher carrying a blood-stained body.

Protesters moved aside, some trampling each other, smoke from barricades and burning tires rising into the air around them, like a scene from a war movie.

It was the bloodiest day during three months of anti-government protests in Ukraine, especially on Independence Square in the capital Kiev.

Near the square, the towering Hotel Ukraine was built during Soviet times.

Inside, in the hotel lobby, medical volunteers were bustling about.

`They were shot in the head or heart with real bullets, not rubber bullets,` volunteer Natalia said, then pointed to a bloody bulletproof vest lying on the hotel floor, with a hole punched through it.

Both protesters and police accused each other of using live ammunition in the clashes, with the Interior Ministry asserting that security forces only fired in self-defense.

Scenes of war reappear in Europe

A man holds the hand of his dead son before the body is transported from a hotel to a local hospital.

Back at Independence Square, protesters were adjusting barricades, showing a reporter metal shields with what looked like bullet holes.

`Everything started around 8 a.m., when the police attacked the Conservatory,` protester Andrei said, referring to a theater occupied by the opposition.

Both the opposition and the police accused each other of using guns and force.

‘Glorious Ukraine’

Amid the chaos on the square, loudspeakers sounded warnings of suspected gunmen on rooftops and windows of nearby buildings.

For some people, this chaos is more than they can bear.

But most of all, they don’t have much time to waste.

In one area of the square, hundreds of protesters, including old men and young women, were lined up across the sidewalks to the front lines, while men dressed in camouflage uniforms

From a platform in the middle of the square, chants of `Glory Ukraine` rang out, amid the devastation in central Kiev.

Scenes of war reappear in Europe

Ukrainian protesters listen to the leaders’ speeches early morning on February 21.

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