News / Europe

Ukraine’s Protesters Prepare for Long Haul

Ukraine's Protesters Prepare for Long Hauli
X
December 05, 2013 6:06 PM
In November, Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych reversed course, saying he would not sign trade and political association pacts with the European Union. Now, pro-Europe street protests have become anti-Yanukovych protests. James Brooke reports from Kyiv.

Ukraine's Protesters Prepare for Long Haul

James Brooke
— Firewood has been stacked, barbed wire has been strung above steel barricades, and insulated military tents have been pitched. The downtown of one of Europe’s largest cities is now a fortified camp. Anti-government protesters in Kyiv are preparing for the long haul.

Roman Turiy, a rotund beekeeper, predicts a long fight. He motions as if to stretch his 10 centimeter long beard, down to his stomach, and says: “I hope we are not here until my beard is down here.”

His friend, Grigori Koziy, a mustachioed Cossack leader, is organizing distribution of free cups of hot, spicy khulish, or millet porridge. He cites the protesters' main complaint: President Viktor Yanukovych’s sudden refusal to sign a free trade and political association pact with the European Union.

“We are in Europe,” said Koziy. “We want to live under European laws.”

Nearby, paving tiles pried from the square are stacked, in preparation of another attack by riot police.

Video images of last Saturday’s attack on the protest camp sparked a huge reaction among Ukrainians. The next day, as many as one million people marched through central Kyiv, the largest march since the Orange Revolution of 2004.

"Excessive force"

The images of riot police clubbing protesters and journalists - 43 at last count - also sparked Western criticism.

In Brussels,  NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said: “We condemn the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrators in Ukraine. We call on all parties to refrain from provocations and violence."

In response, Ukrainian Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko on Wednesday banned “agency employees from using force regarding participants of peaceful gatherings currently being held in the Ukrainian capital and other cities of the country."

With the threat of violence lifting, at least for now, the Kyiv protesters’ enemy is freezing cold and feeding the thousands of out-of-town protesters who have come to the capital.

Volodomyr Lobotsky, a 21-year-old language student from the western city of Lutsk, is learning how to stoke wood into a field kitchen stove.

“We are cooking soup, from meat and macaroni, and tea,” he said, adding that the food is donated by Kyiv residents. In addition, residents have opened their apartments to him and other students, sparing them nights in cold tents.

Hope for change

Despite the wood smoke and the improvisation, some of those in the protest camp are optimistic.

“Actually, I am thinking it is very good that people are coming out to the streets,” said Marina, a tour guide, who hopes that Ukraine will build ties with the European Union.

“They have to speak out, and say what they are thinking about, sign the petitions. Maybe they can change something in the future. They can change the government. They can change the president. And it will be all good,” added Marina.

In public, President Yanukovych has given no indication that he will agree to the protesters’ main demand and sign the deals with the European Union.

It looks like Ukraine’s test of wills will stretch into winter.

  • Ukrainian police officers stand in line during protests in Kyiv, Dec. 6, 2013. 
  • Kyiv's City Hall is now an organizational hub for protesters who have occupied the building, Dec. 6, 2013.
  • Protesters rest inside Kyiv's City Hall building, Dec. 6, 2013.
  • Supporters of Ukrainian EU integration sing and wave flags during a protest in front of the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers building in Kyiv,  Dec. 6, 2013. 
  • Protesters eat at their tent camp in Independence Square in Kyiv, Dec. 5, 2013.
  • Protesters drum on empty barrels as they rally in front of a government building in Kyiv, Dec. 5, 2013.
  • A man wrapped in a Ukrainian flag distributes tea to protesters at Independence Square in Kyiv, Dec. 4, 2013.
  • A man carrying a Ukrainian flag gestures as he stands on top of a bridge overlooking Independence Square, Kyiv, Dec. 4, 2013.
  • Protesters clash with police during a demonstration in support of EU integration in Kyiv, Dec. 3, 2013.
  • Police stand guard over protesters in front of parliament during a demonstration in support of EU integration, Dec. 3, 2013.

You May Like

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Nigerian Islamic School Tries to Combat Boko Haram

Kaduna school headmaster teaches his students that what militants are doing is are doing is 'a total misunderstanding of the Islamic religion' More

University Trains Students to Advocate for Deaf People Worldwide

Program prepares graduates to advocate internationally for access to education, jobs for people with disabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid