Еuromaidan, Kyiv, protests – December 2

20131202-134506.jpgCrikey! Come to Ukraine on holiday and a national crisis emerges. Am in Dnipropetrovsk today but head to Kyiv tomorrow to watch events unfold, and report on them.

I’ve seen small protests in Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk in the last week, and been told, though can’t confirm, protests here in DP and Lugansk were attacked.

Students at a university class I taught at last Monday in Lugansk seemed unconcerned by events the previous weekend.

There appears to be a marked difference in attitude towards the EU rebuff in the east of Ukraine. Pro-EU backing is much stronger in the west and in Kyiv. At 7pm today, there is supposed to be another rally in Maidan – the city’s central square.

Meanwhile, here are some insights from a pal on the ground in Kyiv who has to remain anonymous. Views expressed are not mine. If you are Svoboda and want right to reply, please comment below.

Berkut‘= paramilitary police.

Final, final update – 11.50pm

“Bloody hell possible lucky escape there is definitely a large gang of provocateur types around xxxx metro.

“Dressed in dark clothing and not wearing any euromaidan stuff, they started asking me questions. Luckily had whipped off my ribbon as soon as saw them.”

Final update – 11.30pm

“Walking home through centre and plenty of people settling in for night with fires in drums etc.

“Group of about ten tough looking men scouting around energy ministry near Teatralna metro speculatively trying the doors etc.

“Some people camping outside pres admin building keeping an eye on ranks of unmoving riot police 200 yards away.

“Small group of the steward types are talking to the police. Inner barricades heavily manned but ones around rada etc have been partly cleared.

“Around cabinet of ministers building, a few protestors seem on good terms with normal cops and traffic cops back to normal. Two coachloads of berkut pulled out of rada and off down road.”

This evening

“Not a lot to report, in globus warming up, freezing wind.

“Pretty big crowd of maybe 50 thousand in Maidan and milling around Kreschatik.

“I walked around cabinet of ministers building and pres admin, not so many people there.

“Lines of riot police at Presidential Administration and normal cops and a few soldiers at cab of ministers.

“On protest side there are now stewards stopping people getting too near cops and marshalling people around, whole thing feeling more organised on protest side, in effect in central Kyiv there is now a new admin in place.

“Willl hang around for an hour, crowd seems to be growing if anything.

A victim of the violence across the weekend is interviewed on TV
A victim of the violence across the weekend is interviewed on TV

“In Maidan, underground, people are collecting money, giving out food and there is impromptu live music with people dancing the hopak etc.

” The resident homeless alcoholics look to be having a rare old time with plentiful grub, companionship, dancing and money floating around.”

Today – noon

“Gosh big crowds are building again around pres admin and Marinsky Park and quite tense stand-off with berkut.

“Was talking to a guy from Krivy |Rog in Dnipropetrovsk oblast earlier.

“The people who have kept it going by barricading and sleeping out overnight etc are mainly a few thousand pretty tough middle aged guys and guys in late 20s from out of town.

“Students are good at drumming and looking stylish but bugger off if they start getting cold or parents tell them it is dangerous.

“Crowd has doubled again, spilling down Kreschatik. I sense now is the real tipping point.

“God knows why but some wagon showed up with apparent intention of clearing barricades and just told to clear off.20131204-101800.jpg

“Kyiv has no govt right now. Large numbers of people are just wandering around the streets and city hall is being managed by the people who camped in it last night.

“Buses of riot police near opera house. A tree had been cut down, blocking road up hill from Teatralna.”

On yesterday’s bulldozer assault on police line:

“There was a huge crowd, but could just make it out and see people moving back and forth to front line.

“Stun grenades were deafening and we kept having to get out of way of gas. I kept popping into a courtyard to get away from it but got gassed a bit, shortly after I left riot police charged a few times and set up new barriers.

“At one point thought I was going to get duffed by berkut who pulled up in about four buses, but they ran off in different direction.

“Ordinary cops looked petrified at times.

“There were different groups of hard case types moving around in gangs but they looked either like anti-government football types or mainly older Svoboda types – they have been at all the demos.

“Remember the other night I actually saw some of them training to fight riot police.

“Svoboda are nationalists and think the country has been sold out to Russia.

“They can’t stand Yanukovych though of course their violence and control instincts are a kind of mirror image of left wing types (though the commies did kill off x million people).

“Svoboda hardliners were in clear evidence. Lots of chants of ‘revolution’ too, a sign that the Soviet past still casts its shadow.

“I was right behind worst bit at one stage.

“The people who were coming out wounded were fairly mixed types not just the usual sportsman hooligans.

“Opposition of course distancing selves from violence and calling for occupation of maidan (though not much sign of tents etc going up). Just going home. I fear Berkut might go in heavy handed tonight.”

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