Language of violence

Ukrainian riot police clash with opposition activists during a protest rally in Kiev, Ukraine.

Several thousand flag-waving activists staged a noisy protest yesterday outside the parliament building, protesting about a Bill that would keep Ukrainian as the only official language in the country, but would allow Russian to be used in courts, hospitals and other institutions in Russian-speaking regions.

Defying vehement opposition, Ukraine’s pro-government lawmakers gave tentative approval to the hotly-contested bill.

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The former Soviet country is divided by language and history into the Kremlin-friendly Russian-speaking east and the more nationalistic Ukrainian-speaking west. President Viktor Yanukovych, who draws support from the east, has pledged to give Russian a more prominent role in Ukraine.

Picture: Sergei Chuzavkov/AP

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