Coronavirus: Ukrainian protesters attack evacuees from China




Fears over the spread of the coronavirus have triggered violence in Ukraine, where protesters hurled stones at buses carrying evacuees from China.
Demonstrators in the village of Novi Sanzhary in the central Poltava region clashed with police and burned tyres, as the convoy lead 70 evacuees to a quarantine centre in the area, reports Sky News.
Stones shattered the windows of one of the buses but it appeared nobody inside was injured.
However nine officers and one civilian needed hospital treatment as a result of the wider clashes, regional police said in a statement.
Hundreds of helmeted officers, police vans and an armoured personnel carrier had been dispatched to keep order as the villagers waited for evacuees to arrive.
Since the early morning, several hundred residents had cut off the road to the quarantine centre which will host the evacuees.
The protesters fear they could become infected.
Demonstrators, some of whom reportedly appeared drunk, put up road blocks, burned tires and clashed with riot police who moved to clear access.
One protester tried to ram police lines with his car.
Ukrainian police said 24 protesters were detained.
Buses carrying evacuees were finally able to reach the designated place of quarantine after hours of clashes.
The masked evacuees, exhausted by the long journey, were peeking through bus windows as they drove slowly under a heavy police escort.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, who personally visited the site to try to calm the crowd, said he was shocked by the aggression.
Akakov said in televised remarks: “What we saw was shameful.
“It was one of the biggest disappointments in my life.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy weighed in, saying the protests showed “not the best side of our character”.
He tried to reassure people that the quarantined evacuees wouldn’t pose any danger to local residents.
Zelenskiy said in a statement published on Facebook that the people evacuated from China are healthy and will live in a closed medical centre run by the country’s National Guard.
He said: “In the next two weeks it will probably be the most guarded facility in the country.”
The latest coronavirus developments:
*There have been a total of 76,243 suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins University
*China’s vice technology minister has said a coronavirus vaccine will be submitted for clinical trials in late April at the earliest
*An evacuation flight for around 70 Britons who have been stuck on the Diamond Princess is expected to leave on Friday

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