Boxing Champion Vitali Klitschko Tear Gassed During Protest
Kiev, Ukraine – Vitali Klitschko, heavy weight boxing champion, was tear-gassed yesterday as police sought to break up protests to a controversial Russian language bill.
Klitschko was not so much the object of the tear gassing as it was protesters in general. For his part, Vitali Klitschko formed the political party UDAR and is a strong Ukranian nationalist.
Once the tear gas was dispensed, the protest got violent as police used batons and more tear gas to subdue the crowd, per NBC Sports. Klitschko, who will defend his title on September 8th against Manuel Charr in Moscow, was photographed with blood streaming from his right hand. The World Boxing Council, with whom Klitschko holds the heavyweight title, said on Twitter the fighter suffered a gash on his right hand that required medical attention, and was gassed, but otherwise was OK.
The bill in question gives the heavily Russian regions of the Ukraine language autonomy by making Russian the official language to be taught in schools and used in most government offices.
The non-Russian majority see that as further encroachment on their sovereignty by their neighbor and former captor Russia.