PICTURES

Police, protesters clash outside Kiev city hall

Some ten thousand students rally in western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Dec 10, 2013, a day after Ukrainian police forced protesters who have blockaded the government headquarters in central Kiev for a week to move away from the building. -- PHOTO
Some ten thousand students rally in western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Dec 10, 2013, a day after Ukrainian police forced protesters who have blockaded the government headquarters in central Kiev for a week to move away from the building. -- PHOTO: AFP
Riot police officers stand next to a barricade near a UDAR (Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform) party flag in Kiev Dec 11, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Riot police officers stand next to a barricade near a UDAR (Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform) party flag in Kiev Dec 11, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A line of Ukranian riot police moves past pro-European integration protestors in Independence Square in Kiev Dec 11, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A line of Ukranian riot police moves past pro-European integration protestors in Independence Square in Kiev Dec 11, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Pro-European Union activists wave flags celebrating riot police leaving form the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013. -- PHOTO: AP
Pro-European Union activists wave flags celebrating riot police leaving form the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013. -- PHOTO: AP
Ukrainian riot policemen pull a Pro-European Union activist out form a tent camps on the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013. -- PHOTO: AP
Ukrainian riot policemen pull a Pro-European Union activist out form a tent camps on the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013. -- PHOTO: AP
A Pro-European Union activist prays as riot police going to storm an opposition tent camps on the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, on Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013. Ukrainian police and protesters clashed outside the city hall in Kiev on Wednesday aft
A Pro-European Union activist prays as riot police going to storm an opposition tent camps on the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, on Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013. Ukrainian police and protesters clashed outside the city hall in Kiev on Wednesday after security forces attempted to retake the building occupied by some 200 opposition activists for over a week, an AFP correspondent said. -- PHOTO: AP

KIEV (AFP) - Ukrainian police and protesters clashed outside the city hall in Kiev on Wednesday after security forces attempted to retake the building occupied by some 200 opposition activists for over a week, an AFP correspondent said.

Police used truncheons outside the building to beat protestors, who responded with sticks. Meanwhile, demonstrators inside the building sprayed police on the street with freezing water from a fire hose, forcing them to retreat into police buses.

Amid an increasingly tense standoff, thousands of protesters came to picket the city hall where deputies from the nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) movement held negotiations with the security forces over their next course of action.

The members of the security forces remained holed up in their buses parked outside the front entrance surrounded by protesters and it was not clear if they would be able to launch a new bid to assault the building.

Meanwhile activists proudly waved flags of the Svoboda party and Ukraine from the upper floors to show that they remained in control of the building.

Those on the ground chanted the main slogans of the protest movement, such as "Out with the gang!".