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Clashes erupt as Ukrainian authorities move to clear protest site

KIEV, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- Clashes between Ukrainian police and activists erupted in downtown Kiev on Thursday morning, as authorities moved to clean up the Independence Square, the main site of anti-government protests that led to the ouster of the previous authorities.

During the confrontation, municipal service workers and the forces from the special police unit "Kiev-1" tried to dismantle barricades at the Independence Square, where they met strong resistance from activists.

Protesters set tires on fire and attacked police with Molotov cocktails.

Flames and heavy smoke were seen nearby and fire fighters are working on the scene. However, the area has not been cordoned off and Kiev citizens are watching the confrontation.

Anti-government protests in Ukraine began last November to back the country's European integration and turned violent in February, when more than 100 people were killed.

Although the massive protest movement ended with the ouster of the previous authorities, hundreds of activists have been camping in central Kiev for months, claiming that they will "control activities of the current government."

Meanwhile, outrage among Ukrainians was growing over the silent protest, which blocked the main street of Kiev with dozens of tents and reefs of old tires.

It is widely believed that activists, who participated in the recent anti-government movement, have left Kiev to resume normal lives or take part in the fight against separatist insurgency in the country's east.

Instead, the protest site in central Kiev has attracted unemployed people and thrill-seekers.

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