KIEV, Ukraine — Protesters toppled a statue of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin with an electric cable and broke it into pieces with a hammer Sunday, the clearest sign yet that President Viktor Yanukovych has lost control of the capital to pro-European protesters.
Several hundred people waved flags, sang the national anthem, and chanted “Yanukovych, you’re next!” as passing cars honked in support. A few policemen stood by helplessly before wandering off sheepishly.
The right-wing nationalist Svoboda party, one of the three major opposition groups, claimed responsibility for toppling the statue, the Ukrainskie Novosti news agency reported. Police said in a statement that they were investigating the incident and believed Svoboda’s fiercely anti-Russian and anti-Soviet members were responsible. Many of the people celebrating by the statue chanted nationalist slogans and waved right-wing groups’ flags.
Hundreds of protesters attacked the statue a week ago, but were driven off by riot police.