By Johnny Walker
WBC heavyweight champion and head of the Ukrainian UDAR political party Vitali Klitschko was sprayed with teargas by police today in Kiev when he took part in a street protest over Ukraine’s official language.
During the scuffle with police, Klitschko also suffered a gash to his right arm that required medical treatment.
Klitschko’s opposition UDAR party promotes closer ties with Europe, while the current government favors maintaining Ukraine’s traditional bonds with Russia. The government has been attempting to ram through a bill making Russian the official language in schools and local governments in certain areas of the country, instead of the native Ukrainian tongue.
The riot took place in front of a building in Kiev where Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich had scheduled a press conference.
“There are millions of us and they cannot pretend that nothing has happened,” Klitschko said following the altercation.