World

OSCE meeting opens in Kiev, gripped by massive protests

  • Protesters warm themselves by a fire in Independent Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. Thousands of people from different places of Ukraine are gathered in Kiev's Independence Square. As the cry for revolution grows louder from Ukrainian protesters rallying for closer ties with Europe, the Kremlin is eager to stave off copycat efforts in Russia. State media are casting the protesters in Kiev as “professional revolutionaries” sponsored by the West and bent on violently toppling the government. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    Protesters warm themselves by a fire in Independent Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. Thousands of people from different places of Ukraine are gathered in Kiev's Independence Square. As the cry for revolution grows louder from Ukrainian protesters rallying for closer ties with Europe, the Kremlin is eager to stave off copycat efforts in Russia. State media are casting the protesters in Kiev as “professional revolutionaries” sponsored by the West and bent on violently toppling the government. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)  (The Associated Press)

  • Protesters gather around a fire in a metal bin and eat food distributed for free, at the central Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. A resolution to Ukraine’s political turmoil remained elusive as thousands of people continued rallying on Kiev’s Independence Square and besieging key government buildings. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

    Protesters gather around a fire in a metal bin and eat food distributed for free, at the central Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. A resolution to Ukraine’s political turmoil remained elusive as thousands of people continued rallying on Kiev’s Independence Square and besieging key government buildings. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)  (The Associated Press)

  • Leonid, a teacher from Lviv, holds a Ukrainian flag during a rally in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. The Ukrainian government showed no sign of yielding Wednesday as thousands of people continued to rally in Kiev against the decision to freeze ties with the European Union and get closer to Russia. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    Leonid, a teacher from Lviv, holds a Ukrainian flag during a rally in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. The Ukrainian government showed no sign of yielding Wednesday as thousands of people continued to rally in Kiev against the decision to freeze ties with the European Union and get closer to Russia. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)  (The Associated Press)

Foreign diplomats have converged on a tense Ukrainian capital, which is gripped by massive protests against the government's decision to freeze ties with the EU and turn to Moscow instead.

Several thousand activists continued rallying on a central square and besieging government meetings early Thursday as delegates from Western states joined a meeting of Europe's top security body.

With President Viktor Yanukovych away in China, the government showed no sign of yielding to protests. Police have promised not to use force, but law enforcement bodies were detaining and investigating scores of opposition activists.

The demonstrators were sparked by Yanukovych's decision ditch a significant treaty with the European Union after strong pressure from Russia. They were also galvanized by a violent break-up of a small, peaceful rally last month.