Aug. 6 - Protesters clash with riot police over the detention of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, and stay overnight in front of a district courthouse in central Kiev to protest. Nick Rowlands reports.
Clashes broke out in Kiev on Friday between riot police and supporters of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Tymoshenko served twice as prime minister between 2005 and 2010, and is now the country's leading opposition politician. She is currently on trial for allegedly forcing a state energy company to sign a gas supply contract with Russia in 2009. During the hearing on Friday she was detained after the judge ruled she was "systematically" disrupting the courtroom proceedings, prompting the show of support. Many people camped out overnight, and on Saturday police were erecting metal barriers to help cope with the expected influx of supporters. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) TYMOSHENKO ADVISER, MARINA SAROKA: "I know that not only have a lot of people come, but a lot are planning to come. That is, there will be a lot more people wanting to support Yulia Tymoshenko against these unjust actions - the actions in Pechersky Court. There will be a lot more people." A Ukrainian MP says the arrest was illegal. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT DEPUTY, VOLODYMYR KUVALOV: "We will call on people to come here, we will call on people not only from Kiev but from the whole Ukraine, because this is needed for protection of democracy. If today, the authorities ignore the legal demands of the opposition in the country, then they will arrest tomorrow every politician under far-fetched pretences. We think that Yulia Tymoshenko's arrest was illegal." Tymoshenko claims the case against her is fabricated and politically motivated, due to her opposition to the pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich. She was one of the leaders of the 2004 "Orange Revolution" which sought to block Yanukovich's first bid for president. But the Western-leaning coalition brought to power by the protests gradually fell apart, and Yanukovich won the presidency in February 2010. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.