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Ukrainian President, U.S. Embassy Condemn Violence Against Police Near Parliament

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Ukrainian law enforcement officers detain a man following clashes with protesters on December 17 in Kyiv near parliament.
Ukrainian law enforcement officers detain a man following clashes with protesters on December 17 in Kyiv near parliament.

KYIV -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy condemned the violence near parliament on December 16 where protesters clashed with police, injuring 17 officers and two journalists.

Several thousand people had assembled into four groups of protesters, one of which opposed the government’s plans to lift the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land.

Police detained 26 people during the clashes and removed tents that had been erected near the national legislature.

“I’m for the right to peacefully assemble. Every person has the right to express their opinion,” Zelenskiy said on Facebook. “And every person should be held accountable if someone suffers as a result of that person’s actions.”

He added that “discussions about legislative initiatives shouldn’t break the law.”

Zelenskiy promised that the law to create an agricultural land market will be discussed with the wider public, and as such, “Ukraine will move towards a better life, despite the resistance of the old ‘elites,’”

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv also denounced the violence.

“The United States supports the right to peaceful protests. We condemn violence against police and journalists, such as [what] transpired outside the Rada [parliament] today,” the U.S. embassy said in a tweet.

Kyiv police chief Andriy Khryshchenko said video footage of the clashes is being evaluated and a criminal investigation is open on resisting police.

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