Two die as demonstrators clash in Donetsk

Two people died when the pro- and anti-government demonstrators clashed in eastern Ukraine on Thursday evening.  Fifty people received different injuries.

The clashes took place in Donetsk, the heartland of Ukraine’s Russian-speaking coalfield, after pro-Russian protesters clashed with rivals favoring European integration and denouncing Russia’s incursion into Crimea.

A local health authority said a 22-year-old local man died of a knife wound and more than a dozen people were being treated in hospital. Organizers of the pro-EU rally, which also denounced Russia’s takeover of Crimea, said the dead man was from their group.

Journalists saw police try and fail at times to keep the two sides apart as the rival crowds threw smoke bombs and other missiles. Scattered fights broke out around the square and nearby streets as the demonstrators began to disperse.

Police have detained four people accused of fomenting clashes between rival demonstrators, the interior minister said on Friday.

“The first four organizers and ringleaders of the mass disorders were found and detained during the night,” Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on his Facebook page.

“An investigation is continuing. Given the initial evidence overnight, these detentions are only the beginning. We will not go easy on bandits with knives … An investigation into police actions during these events will also proceed.”

By late evening, the streets were quiet again.