KIEV - Ukrainian police fired tear gas on Monday at pro-Europe demonstrators protesting a policy U-turn back towards Russia after the prime minister said there could be no repetition of the Orange Revolution protests of nine years ago.
A few hundred people marched in the capital for a second straight day, responding to opposition calls for street protests over a decision last Thursday by the government to walk away from a trade pact with the European Union.
Though the numbers were much reduced from Sunday, when tens of thousands turned out and demonstrations mainly took place peacefully, trouble briefly flared outside government headquarters in the capital Kiev.
Thousands protest Ukrainian gov’t's U-turn in EU dealNov. 25, 201300:46
Police fired tear gas after clashing with demonstrators who tried to prevent a government car leaving the premises and a Reuters photographer on the spot said two people were detained.
Speaking on Russian First channel TV on Sunday night, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said: "If this (the demonstration) takes place with violations of legislation, then the government will not act as it did in 2004 when the instruments of overthrowing the lawful government were being worked out quite simply before our very eyes."
The Orange Revolution of 2004-5 against sleaze and electoral fraud doomed the first attempt at the presidency by Viktor Yanukovich, the current president, after an election which the opposition said was rigged. He was eventually elected in 2010.