- Posted December 30, 2013 by
EuroMaidan in Kyiv: The Momentum Goes On
- sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer
I took these photos in Kyiv, Ukraine between December 21 and 22, 2013.
Whereas protests in Ukraine where at first happening all over the country, the protesting has now consolidated in Kyiv. Ukraine's capital city has become the major theater and the outcome of the protesting is going to impact on the very nature of what the country is going to be like in the coming decades: a democracy or a dictatorship. From outside one might get a feeling that the momentum is dwindling, but after I personally visited Kyiv last weekend, I realized that the pro-democracy and anti-corruption protesting is as strong as ever. People are tired of living in a resource-rich country, working hard yet receiving pensions and salaries averaging 200$.
During the weekdays protesting is less intense, but great attention is paid to the security within the barricaded Maidan (Independence Square) to prevent provocations. Every Sunday there is a national gathering called "Viche" that draws more than 200,000 people. I had a chance to attend the fifth one. The atmosphere is uplifting and attitudes are completely non-violent. The past two weeks have been marked by systematic and similar attacks on activists across the country.
Just three days after this photo shoot had been prepared, an investigative reporter Tatyana Chornovol has been brutally battered. Her life is still hanging by a thread. I think this kind of pressure and intimidation against the protesters, journalists, civil society members, human rights activists and other individuals who express strong disapproval of the current Government - is completely unacceptable. By acting in such a heavy-handed matter the Central Government is violating fundamental human rights and freedoms. At the same time the protesting has inadvertently forced the Government system and some key officials to reveal their true colors.
The recent signing of the agreements with Russia, whose details remain unknown, but are considered to be dangerous to Ukraine's sovereignty, is also adding to the momentum.
I was inspired to make this report because it is incredible to see that the protesting is still so strong and people are so committed to standing up for their idea. I wouldn't want to see Ukraine acquiring a Belarus-like regime and becoming Russia's puppet state. This might be the last chance for Ukraine to assert its independence and reject all forms of untamed corruption. I am proud to see so many fellow Ukrainians voicing their opinion despite countless threats, propaganda and the Government's silence.
I wanted to highlight the different parts of the 'infrastructure' that has been created by the protesters: field kitchen, first aid stations, prayer tents, coordination centers and artistic expressions. The territory of Maidan in Kyiv has transformed into a city within the city. When you are inside it's barricades, it seems the momentum of the protesting has never been stronger. It's a very energizing experience. It's a real face of a democracy in the making.
I was mostly an observer to the protesters, but I got a chance to spend a whole day at the protest and be a part of it.
The Government is treating the protesting with silence, trying to demoralize the protesters by ignoring their demands and let the protests wear out. Little action is being taken to find responsible for the violence against the activists.