On August 14, 2021, demonstrators clashed with police officers during a protest by army party activists in front of the presidential palace in Kiev, Ukraine. (Serhii Nuzhnenko / Reuters)
Kiev, Ukraine — Police clashed Saturday when Nationalist protesters near the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tried to break through the police cordon.
Reuters television footage from the scene showed Ukrainian police members and protesters spraying tear gas on each other. While police officers barely counterattacked, protesters attacked with long sticks and threw car tires and stones.
Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskiy said eight police officers were injured during the clash and a criminal investigation was initiated. He wrote on Facebook that the clash began when police tried to search for protesters about the approach to Cheong Wa Dae, but they resisted.
“The Constitution guarantees the right to peaceful protests. Anyone who underwent a basic check would have been allowed to enter the square in front of Cheong Wa Dae,” he said.
The right-wing national corps organized a rally to protest a plan known as the Steinmeier ceremony, which would provide a special position in the Donbas region, which is controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
The group said violence was triggered when police officers blocked access to the building, resulting in injuries to some protesters.
“This administration is … actually anti-Ukrainian,” party leader Andriy Biletsky told his supporters, quoted by the website.
By Ilya Zhegulev