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Thousands protest pension and benefits cuts in Ukraine

Sergey Dolzhenko / EPA

Protesters clash with police in front of Ukrainian parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, September 20. More than 10,000 people, among them Afghanistan war veterans, demonstrated in the Ukrainian capital Kiev to protest proposed benefit cuts, with some of the marchers attempting to break police cordons around the national parliament building. Veterans of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power accident also participated in the street protests. Like Afghanistan war veterans, Ukraine's Chernobyl victims face reduced pensions and medical payments if parliament passes a cost-cutting bill currently under debate. Protesters shouted ‘Shame’ along with insults, as police struggled to keep demonstrators from overturning barriers. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials have said cash-strapped Ukraine must reduce numbers of people receiving social payments and the size of those payments, to obtain further IMF financing.

Valentin Ogirenko / AP

A police officer tries to stop emergency workers, who fought the blaze at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, and veterans of the 1979-89 Soviet Afghan war during a protest against the adoption in parliament of a bill abolishing their social benefits in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Efrem Lukatsky / AP

A woman wears a Tee-shirt with a portrait of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko during a protest as riot police stand guard in front of parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Sept. 20. About thousand people took part in the protest action against the draft law, which provides for the cancellation of privileges for 16 categories of people, including veterans of the Soviet war in Afganistan and emergency workers, who fought the blaze at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.

Sergey Dolzhenko / EPA

Protesters stand in front of Ukrainian parliament after their clash with police in Kiev, Ukraine, on September 20. Veterans of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power accident also participated in the street protests. Like Afghanistan war veterans, Ukraine's Chernobyl victims face reduced pensions and medical payments if parliament passes a cost-cutting bill currently under debate. Protesters shouted ‘Shame’ along with insults, as police struggled to keep demonstrators from overturning barriers.

Gleb Garanich / Reuters

Relatives of the 1979-89 Soviet Afghan war victims react as they take part in a protest rally against Ukrainian authorities' initiative to cut social benefits near the Parliament headquarters in Kiev on September 20. Hundreds of Ukrainians, mostly veterans of the 1979-89 Soviet Afghan war protesting against plans to cut their payouts and subsidies, tried to storm into the parliament building and scuffled with police on Tuesday.