Revolution HQ, Kyiv

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Underneath the six ornate chandeliers in the City Hall’s main chamber, hundreds of people sleep, dine, chatter, embrace, plot and even sing.

Welcome to the ‘revolution’.

The building on Kyiv’s main street, Khreshatik, was broken into over the weekend and has been occupied since.

The ground and first floors now serve as a nerve centre/dormitory for opposition protesters.

All available space is being used.

Opposition activists lie down in Kyiv City Hall to get some sleep
Opposition activists lie down in Kyiv City Hall to get some sleep

Entrance is via two revolving doors which would make it difficult for anyone trying to forcibly remove the people inside. Stewards ensure a steady process of going in and coming out.

The stairs from the foyer feature a barricade but at the moment, you can ascend to the first floor quite easily.

The building is several storeys high but it appears only the bottom two floors are being used. Damage appears to be restricted to windows at the front of the building which were smashed in order to gain entrance to the premises.

Inside the city hall, opposition parties have raised their flags, their poles often sellotaped to chairs – Svoboda, Tymoschenko supporters and others.

Grub's up! Scrubbed up and serving food. The main chamber also now houses a buffet
Grub’s up! Scrubbed up and serving food. The main chamber also now houses a buffet

Most of the hard work seems to be performed by women.

In addition to free food and drink, there are tables bearing huge mounds of clothes.

These too are freely available.

Activists chew the cud on the podium
Activists chew the cud on the podium

Opposition activists are now based in this hall, the Trade Union building on Independence Square and in the actual square itself. They largely control this area though anyone is free to come and go.

The government and the police have entrenched themselves in the Presidential Administration building and the Cabinet Ministers building.

People on all sides of the political spectrum appear to be engaging with each other and I have witnessed no tensions between sides today.

Life appears to be going on as normal. Many businesses in Kyiv are continuing to operate and there is little sign of premises being shut.

In the City Hall chamber, technical teams update Facebook, a screen shows latest bulletins. The wi-fi connection is called ‘Revolution’.

A Svoboda spokesman said: “We have organised this as we are the most organised party – we needed a warm ‘tent’ where people can stay.”

Others sleep wherever they can, in the cloakroom, offices and among the first-floor exhibition of sporting gifts and medals which are proudly displayed on the city’s premises.

On the first floor, above the entrance, an activist sleeps under a cabinet full of sport medals
On the first floor, above the entrance, an activist sleeps under a cabinet full of sport medals

Many people have come up to the capital from the west of Ukraine – so this is where they are staying. Others are staying in tents on the central square or on streets nearby.

It appears that they are no hurry to return back home.

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