Stand-off between riot police and protesters in Kyiv as President Yanukovich appeals for calm

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In Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, several Orthodox priests took to the streets on Tuesday to pray and read from the Bible, creating a rare moment of calm between riot police and protesters.

Elsewhere in the city, the violence continued as police moved in to take down barricades in a street leading to government offices.

Opposition leaders accuse the government of paying thugs to turn the protests violent and provide an excuse for a state of emergency.

Protesters rounded up some of those accused of carrying weapons and trying to instigate violence, making them do a ‘walk of shame’ through the city’s Independence Square.

One anti-government protester said: “We don’t want any war or any radical actions, but our government forces us, it is against the Ukrainian people. All my friends and family support the protest, no one wants victims.”

On Wednesday new legislation banning peaceful protests and slander of government officials comes into force.

The Ukranian president, Viktor Yanukovich, appealed for calm, saying: “I call for dialogue, compromise and peace in our native land. I believe in the people of Ukraine. I am confident in the wisdom of our people. I am ready to serve the state and people faithfully as long as I have enough strength and the trust of the people.”

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