May Day Violence Erupts in Donetsk, Ukraine

May Day Violence Erupts in Donetsk, Ukraine

May Day was one of the most violent days in Donetsk, Ukraine, since Russia-backed President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted on February 22. Pro-Russian forces seized the prosecutor’s office Thursday, attacked the police, and burned Ukrainian flags.

Pro-Russians have been seizing government buildings, and usually the police do not fight back. This time, however, the police attempted to stop the forces from entering with stun grenades and tear gas.

Sky News Chief Correspondent Stuart Ramsay was in central Donetsk and provided a first-hand account of the violence. He said it was the first time he saw riot police fight back against protesters. He also saw police officers dragged outside, and some had serious injuries.

Other journalists tweeted the takeover with pictures and videos:

Bojan Pancevski, EU Correspondent for The Sunday Times, managed to get into the building after the pro-Russians took over. He reported the forces burned papers, looked for hard drives to destroy, and even stole ice cream.

At the same time, Moscow held a May Day parade in Red Square for the first time since the Soviet days. This is a major holiday for socialist and communist countries.