Lenin statue bites the dust in Kyiv

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5.45pm – the long-disliked Lenin statue at one end of Khreshatik in Kyiv has been toppled from its perch.

Hundreds whoop with joy and passing motorists toot their approval.

People are taking it in turns to smash it to pieces.

'So Mr Lenin, tell me how you feel'
‘So Mr Lenin, tell me how you feel’

There’s a huge crush by the fallen statue.

Spectators are singing the Ukrainian national anthem and shouting : “Yanukovych, you’re next.”

A ladder has been placed next to the plinth and protesters are standing where Vladimir Ilyich once stood, and are waving flags in celebration.

Temporary replacements for Lenin make their way to the top of the plinth
Temporary replacements for Lenin make their way to the top of the plinth

Estimates of 100,000-plus people attended the march today in central Kyiv.

It has been largely peaceful but it seems as though the opposition need a concrete outcome from their day of protest.

Communists here have regularly kept vigil over the statue to protect it.

The statue earlier this week, being guarded by police
The statue earlier this week, being guarded by police

Elsewhere in eastern Ukraine Lenin statues can still be seen.

Lenin, whose intellect perhaps dwarfs all the current politicians in Ukraine, would no doubt appreciate the irony of the ‘revolution’ taking this action against him.

Of course, the destruction is heavily symbolic but it seems a hollow, opportunistic achievement given the serious aims of Ukraine’s opposition.

Does it epitomise the level of political debate in this country?

A woman wields the hammer to despatch Lenin in Kyiv
A woman wields the hammer to despatch Lenin in Kyiv

Midnight – a tough nut to crack is Mr Lenin. He is not going gently into the good night.

People upbraid each other for swinging the sledgehammer dangerously.

“Show me how to do it then,” says one dismantler.

A big swing, sparks fly, a cloud of dust rises, shards splinter off threatening to blind someone.

People scrabble for souvenir scraps, TV presenters sit next to the head to do pieces to camera.

People claiming it’s a Berlin Wall moment. Actually it’s more of a Max Wall farce.

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