updated 1/27/2014 8:19:18 AM ET 2014-01-27T13:19:18

KIEV (Reuters) - A 55-year-old man was found dead on Monday hanging from the framework of a huge artificial 'New Year tree' in central Kiev which has become a symbol of anti-government resistance, Ukrainian police said.

Police said they removed the body, which was hanging inside the cone-shaped tubular steel construction on Kiev's Independence Square. The 'tree' is festooned with a poster of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko and scrawled with graffiti attacking President Viktor Yanukovich.

The body, that of a man from Volyn region in western Ukraine, bore no external wounds and was being examined to establish the cause of death, the police statement said.

The incident was especially bizarre since the square has been swarming with protesters day and night since the onset of mass protests against Yanukovich in early December.

(Writing by Richard Balmforth; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2014. Check for restrictions at: http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp

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