A rally of government supporters in eastern Ukraine devolved into brutal clashes on Monday when the march was attacked by pro-Russia militants. Yelling "Donetsk is Ukraine" and waving Ukrainian flags, the march was making its way through the city of Donetsk when it was charged by attackers armed with baseball bats and fire-crackers.
Video coming out of Donetsk shows fierce violence from the rally, including a clip appearing to show a man carrying a Ukrainian flag being brutally beaten up by two militants wielding large sticks. Police officers eventually drive off the assailants, while the injured man is carried away. The footage also shows dozens of photographers and cameramen documenting the incident amid the chaos.
Another video distributed by Russian state-news agency Russia Today appears to show an explosion just feet away from a police column and protesters talking to the officers.
According to the Associated Press, police officers first tried to hold the militiamen back from the rally, but were later unable to contain violence. Reuters notes that at least five people sustained head injuries in the clashes.
Donetsk has been a focal point in the conflict between supporters of the Ukrainian government and pro-Russia militants in the east of the country. Separatists have occupied several government buildings in the region since last month and have declared an independent "Donetsk People's Republic."
Earlier on Monday, the mayor of Ukraine's second largest city, Kharkiv, was shot in the back by unidentified gunmen. While mayor Hennady A. Kernes was known as an opponent of the Euromaidan protests in Kiev, he had recently become more favorable towards the government that took power from President Viktor Yanukovych.