Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ukraine Protests

By Nathaniel Fritz

Photo: KyivPost
The Washington Post has shared a live video feed of an ongoing crackdown on protesters in Independence Square in Kiev. Watching the events Tuesday night, there were a large number of fireworks going off, fires burning, and Molotov cocktails being thrown. The police appeared to be holding at the edge of the square; likely because of the large number of protesters in the square and the large fires separating the two groups. The police were on the outer edges but can be seen being bombarded with rocks, Molotov cocktails, and fireworks. Police forces responded in kind with the use of fire hoses to suppress the fires and spray the protesters while the temperatures remained below freezing.

Kyiv Post has a count of nine dead and over one hundred injured from the day's clashes. After the fighting earlier in the day the government called for protesters to leave Independence Square by 6 PM; the protesters choosing to remain in the square has prompted tonight's standoff. The protesters had marched on Parliament in order to show support for a vote to reduce the President's powers. At the heart of these protests is the way President Viktor Yanukovych has handled an integration pact with the European Union; he is seen as instead favoring closer integration with Russia. Ukrainian's are divided on this issue as well. At present we can only hope that events in Ukraine see no more bloodshed and that the government and protesters can find a positive resolution to the situation without more violence.

[Editor update: Footage of Ukrainian police firing on protesters. Warning: graphic violence.]

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