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Protesters Against Social Cuts Clash With Police At Ukrainian Parliament


WATCH: A group of protesters destroyed a fence outside parliament while demonstrating against cuts in social payments. (video by RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service)

Some 2,000 protesters have clashed with police outside Ukraine's parliament, amid widespread discontent against planned cuts in state social benefits.

The protest was the second in as many days.

The protesters, who included veterans of the clean-up from the Chornobyl nuclear disaster and small-business owners, clashed with riot police who tried to hold them back.

The protesters were eventually forced away from the building by riot police. One police officer was knocked unconscious.

They broke down a metal security fence supposed to protect the building and tried to approach the building, shouting "Shame."

Some of the crowd then attempted to advance on the nearby residence of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, but were halted by a police line.

A police spokesman said three protesters were arrested.

Interfax news agency reported that the eastern city of Donetsk saw a noisy but peaceful demonstration of more than 1,000 at the provincial governor's office.

Ukraine's legislature is debating measures to cut state benefits to millions of people.

The government says the reforms are needed to reduce the budget deficit.

compiled from agency reports
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