British travellers to the Ukraine capital of Kiev have been warned to avoid all demonstrations amid violent clashes between protestors and police.

The updated travel advisory from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office yesterday (Sunday) came as protests and demonstrations spread across Kiev and other cities.

The violence erupted as many thousands of protesters held a rally in Kiev’s Independence Square, outraged by new laws which they said restricted basic freedoms – a claim disputed by the ruling party headed by president Viktor Yanukovych.

The anti-government movement began in protest at Yanukovych’s decision in late November to pull out of a treaty with the European Union, but has expanded to demand his resignation.

Protestors overturned a bus used by police and set it alight. Other vehicles were also set on fire.

Police responded with water cannon, gas canisters and thunder flashes to try to disperse the demonstrators, the BBC reported.

The FCO said: “Protests and demonstrations are occurring in Kiev and many other cities. Some of these have resulted in scuffles between demonstrators and the police.

There is increased tension in central Kiev, especially in and around Independence Square. Some metro stations in central Kiev are being closed regularly.

“Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible safety or security risks. You should avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, as even peaceful protests may turn violent.”