1st Ld: Ukrainian protesters tear down Lenin's statue in Kiev
KIEV, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- A group of anti-government protesters on Sunday toppled the statue of Vladimir Lenin in Kiev, the national capital, to vent their anger toward their government's decision to seek closer economic ties with Russia instead of with the European Union (EU).
The move came after the anti-government rally in Kiev was attended by hundreds of thousands of people. A local video footage showed that activists from the Svoboda (Liberty) Party first broke up the statue off its pedestal with tools such as hammers and ropes, then started to chant their national anthem.
Earlier on Sunday, Ukrainian Security Service said it had launched an investigation over reported actions aiming to seize the state power by force.
"On December 8, the register of pre-trial investigations was supplemented with data related to illegal actions committed by certain politicians to seize state power." said the agency in a statement.
The agency did not name the politicians. They will be will face a prison term ranging from five to ten years if convicted.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk, leader of the opposition Batkivshchina ( Fatherland) Party, said Sunday at the so-called "People's Veche ( assembly)" on the Independence Square that the government was considering to introduce the state of emergency in Ukraine and insisted more efforts should be done to continue the protests, including blocking one more governmental building each day until the government "makes concrete steps to meet our demands," according to the Interfax news agency.
Thousands of pro-government citizens organized by the ruling Party of Regions also rallied around the Constitution Square near the parliament building.
Police have cordoned off the two rallies, and no clashes have been reported between the two groups of protesters.