Kiev protests continue, but with president away and government unyielding, resolution elusive

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Thousands of people are gathered in Kiev's Independence Square, where Orthodox priests chanted prayers at dawn and demonstrators are vowing to keep up their actions.

President Viktor Yanukovych is out of the country on an official trip to China and the government is showing no signs of yielding, suggesting that the tensions that have gripped the country for two weeks are far from resolution.

Demonstrators have set up scores of tents on the square, the epicenter of protests against the Ukrainian government, and blocked several streets leading to it with tall barricades of wooden pallets and random material. Large piles of wood dot the square, fuel for fires that keep the demonstrators warm in the freezing temperatures.