Anti-government protests in Ukraine's capital escalated into fiery street battles with police as thousands of demonstrators hurled rocks and firebombs and set police vehicles ablaze. Dozens of officers and protesters were injured.

Police responded with stun grenades, tear gas and water cannons, but were outnumbered by the protesters.

Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko tried to persuade demonstrators to stop their unrest, but failed and was sprayed by a fire extinguisher in the process.

President Viktor Yanukovych last week signed an array of laws severely limiting protests and banning the wearing of helmets and gas masks. Many of Sunday's demonstrators wore hardhats and masks in defiance of the new laws. They set several police buses on fire and some chased and beat officers.

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A pro-European integration protester gestures at a burning police bus during a rally near government administration buildings in KievReuters
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Protesters attack a police van during an anti-government rally in KievReuters
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A pro-European integration protester stands in front of a burning police bus during a rally near government administration buildings in KievReuters
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Opposition leader and former boxer Vitaly Klitschko is sprayed with a powder fire extinguisherReuters
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Opposition leader and former world heavyweight champion Vitaly Klitschko reacts after he was sprayed with a fire extinguisher during a pro-European integration rally in KievReuters
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Pro-European integration protesters prepare Molotov cocktails during a rally near government administration buildings in KievReuters
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A pro-European integration protester fires fireworks from behind a shield during clashes with Ukrainian riot policeReuters
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A protester aims a slingshot towards Ukrainian riot police in KievReuters
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Ukrainian riot police react after being hit by a petrol bomb during clashes with pro-European integration protestersReuters
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Pro-European integration protesters gather near the entrance to Dinamo stadium during clashes with Ukrainian riot police in KievReuters
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A pro-European integration protester injured during clashes with Ukranian riot police receives treatment in KievReuters
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A pro-European integration protester sits in a burnt-out police bus the day after the rally in KievReuters
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Pro-European integration protesters sing an anthem the day after the rally near government administration buildings in KievReuters