News / Europe

    Moves to Dismantle 'Euromaidan' Protest Tents in Kyiv Spark Clashes

    Protesters hold a petrol bomb during clashes with pro-government forces at Independence Square in Kyiv. Tensions flared on Thursday on Kyiv's Independence Square when protesters still camped there clashed with city workers who tried to clear away their tents.
    Protesters hold a petrol bomb during clashes with pro-government forces at Independence Square in Kyiv. Tensions flared on Thursday on Kyiv's Independence Square when protesters still camped there clashed with city workers who tried to clear away their tents.
    Reuters

    Tensions flared on Thursday on Kyiv's Independence Square, the scene of street protests that toppled a Moscow-backed president in February, when protesters still camped there clashed with city workers who tried to clear away their tents.

    The protesters set fire to heaps of tyres, sending clouds of black smoke billowing across the city centre square, known as the Maidan, recalling the demonstrations earlier this year which chased Viktor Yanukovich from power.

    Armed riot police moved onto the square as protesters - some of them in combat fatigues and masks and waving clubs - threw bottles and paving bricks at municipal workers who had been dispatched to dismantle the tents and barricades.

    The police and workers eventually withdrew, leaving the situation unresolved.

    Many protesters, including self-defense militias, have taken down their tents and returned to their homes since the election of Petro Poroshenko as president at the end of May.

    But many barricades have remained in place, along with makeshift shrines to the 100 or so protesters killed by police sniper fire, and a few hundred people are still camped out on the Maidan.

    "It's the right thing to do [take down the tents]. I was here from the start of the Maidan and I believe it's right now to take down what there is here. There are practically no normal people left here," said Yury Kovalchuk, a 43-year-old businessman.

    Ukraine's uprising began last November when Yanukovich walked away from a political and trade deal with the European Union and sought to swing policy back towards Russia. At its height, thousands of people from across Ukraine were camped out on the square and on an adjoining thoroughfare.

    Kyiv's new authorities have made clear they would like the capital city back to normal, with traffic moving freely, ahead of an expected parliamentary election at the end of October.

    "It's like seeing everything that went on in winter coming back: tires are burning, the police are here and so are people with clubs," said Vitaly Lyakh, a 37-year-old Kyiv resident.

    "It's not right - especially since the most decent people have gone off to fight in the war [against separatists in the east]. Civilised countries don't behave like this," he said.

    One protester wearing a Ukrainian cossack uniform, Mykola Bondar, declared his resistance to attempts to take down the encampment. A group of young masked protesters stood nearby atop a truck, banging on the roof of the vehicle with clubs. "They tried to kill us today. They set fire to us," he said.

    • Women choose Dutch tomatoes at a supermarket in downtown Moscow, Aug. 7, 2014. The Russian government has banned all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products, fruits and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Aug. 7, 2014.
    • Premier Dmitry Medvedev at the Cabinet meeting announces sanctions, on behalf of the Russian government, banning all imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products, fruits and vegetables from the United States, European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway in Moscow on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.
    • Fruit farmers marched in Warsaw to encourage Poles to eat more apples to offset the expected negative effects of a ban that Russia imposed last week on Polish fruit. In this photo, a woman is picking apples to buy at 1.99 zlotys (euro 0.47) per kilo at a supermarket in Warsaw, Poland, Aug. 6, 2014.
    • An activist smokes a cigarette after clashes with a special forces police battalion in Independence Square, Kyiv, Ukraine, Aug. 7, 2014.
    • A woman shops for sweets from an assortment of imported food stuffs at a supermarket in downtown Moscow, Aug. 7, 2014.
    • Imported meat products are displayed at a supermarket in Novosibirsk, about 2,800 kilometers east of Moscow, Russia, Aug. 7, 2014.
    • Activists clash with a special forces police battalion, in Independence Square, Kyiv, Ukraine, Aug. 7, 2014.
    • Worries about Russian troops amassing near the Ukrainian border are pushing stocks slightly lower. Trader Steven Kaplan, left, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, New York, NY, Aug. 6, 2014.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora