Riot police encircle protest camps in Kiev

JIM HEINTZ and YURAS KARMANAU
Associated Press
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Ukrainian riot police block the road next to Pro-European Union activists gathered on the Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, Dec. 9, 2013. The policemen, wearing helmets and holding shields, formed a chain across Kiev’s main street outside the city building. Organizers called on protesters to vacate the city hall and the other building which the opposition had used as its headquarters. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian police in full riot gear have encircled tents and barricades erected by anti-government protesters that are blocking city buildings in Kiev and have begun to dismantle some of them.

The police action involved at least two protest sites outside government buildings in the center of the Ukrainian capital.

The appearance of the riot police earlier Monday had raised fears of a possible violent police crackdown against the protesters.

President Viktor Yanukovych has faced three weeks of angry protests after his decision to freeze ties with the 28-nation European Union and turn toward Russia instead.