UK & World News
Lenin Statue Toppled By Protesters In Kiev
Protesters in Ukraine have toppled a statue of Vladimir Lenin in Kiev as hundreds of thousands flooded the capital.
Police said people wearing masks pulled down and decapitated the statue of the Russian revolutionary leader in the centre of the city.
Protesters took turns beating on the torso of the fallen monument, while others chanted "Glory to Ukraine!"
The red granite, 3.5-metre high statue was constructed in December 1946 just after World War II ended.
The empty plinth of the statue on Bessarabia Square was surrounded by jubilant protesters who hacked away with axes at the remnants of the monument lying flat on the ground.
Leading opposition politician Andriy Shevchenko said that the toppling of the statue had not been an initiative of the opposition leaders on Independence Square. "We can say that people organised themselves," he said.
The chaotic protest further raised tensions in the Ukrainian capital, where protesters have gathered to denounce the government's move away from Europe and toward Moscow.
Waving EU and Ukrainian flags, protesters have filled Kiev's iconic Independence Square and surrounding streets to denounce President Viktor Yanukovych's rejection of an EU pact under Kremlin pressure.
Jailed ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko said the opposition was demanding the "immediate" resignation of the president in a statement read by her daughter that was met with chants of "Resign!" from the crowds.
"He is no longer the president of our state, he is a tyrant who must answer for every drop of blood that has been shed," Yevgenia Tymoshenko quoted her mother as saying.
Soon after the speeches at the rally ended, Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) said it had opened an investigation into alleged attempts by politicians to seize power, in an apparent bid by the state to target key opposition figures.
The size of the protest, the third mass rally in successive weekends, increased the pressure on Mr Yanukovych who further galvanised his opponents by meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in almost total secrecy on Friday.