The Ukraine protests erupted into carnage once again Thursday as a truce declared by the country’s president quickly fell apart amid gunfire, reportedly from both police and protesters. The death toll was hard to come by, but reports ranged from a low of 21 up to a possible 100 killed in the fighting.
Kiev city authorities put the death toll at 67, though that total could change by the minute.
At least 11 corpses lay arranged in a makeshift morgue on a Kiev Street, but they were definitely not the only fatalities of the fierce fighting. An Associated Press reporter counted 21 corpses in the street. Protesters took dozens of police as prisoners, publicly marching them through the Independence Square encampment that the pro-Western demonstrators have used as their stronghold throughout the three month Ukraine protests.
The bloodshed appeared even worse than when 28 people were killed on Tuesday, which them was the worst death toll due to domestic unrest in 70 years in the Ukraine.
Witnesses who spoke to the BBC said that many of the dead appeared to have been killed by single gunshot wounds. Reports of sniper fire throughout the clashes have also come in, though whether the snipers are on the side of government authorities, protesters or some of both has been impossible to determine.
According to the BBC account, however, video has captured snipers firing into the Independence Square base of the Ukraine protests, suggesting that those marksmen, at least, are working for the government.
The ruling party of President Viktor Yanukovych lost one prominent member as a result of the violence, as Kiev’s mayor — who is also a member of parliament — resigned from the Party of Regions.
“Human lives should be the highest value in our state and nothing can contradict this principal,” said mayor Volodymyr Makeyenko in a statement explaining his resignation.
Protesters pleaded with media to get the message to foreign governments that Yanukovych must not be allowed to bring in the military to quash the Ukraine protests.
“A state of emergency means the beginning of war. We cannot let that happen,” said one woman, speaking from a stage.
In Washington the White House issued a statement declaring the U.S. administration “outraged by the images of Ukrainian security forces firing automatic weapons on their own people.” The conflict must “be resolved by political means,” the White House statement said, as it condemned the use of force in the Ukraine protests.