- Posted December 31, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Your New Year's Eve celebrations
Kiev's Euromaidan rings the New Year in
If you happened to be in Kiev this New Year's eve, it'd be a shame if you stayed indoors missing a unique chance to ring the New Year in in a company of tens of thousands on Independence Square known here as "Maidan." The core of this party on the freezing point are the protestors who'v camped out on Maidan for more than 40 days now. They're protesting against the corrupt regime of president Yanukovych who, back in November, abruptly refused to sign an association agreement with the EU, seen by many as a way to bring more "civilized" control over the president and the government. When the protest started, few believed it would hold until the New Year's, but tonight's celebration showed it's as strong as ever.
Maidan is now barricaded on all sides to prevent sudden assault by riot police, but it's easily accessible to general public. One of Maidan's main attractions is the Christmas tree - it was just started being assembled by the municipality when the protests started. The protestors occupied the structure made of steel pipes and decorated it with banners and other revolutionary art. A giant poster calling for the release from jail of the former prime-minister Yulia Tymoshenko now covers a good portion of the "tree." A stage at the center of the ongoing rally has been upgraded by protest organizers to accommodate a full-fledged concert. It's been hosted by Ukraine's Eurovision Song Contest winner Ruslana who has been the protest's MC from the very first hours an has already lost her voice several times. She was joined by a number of well-known Ukrainian bands and opposition leaders. Surprisingly, the crowd has largely obeyed the no-alcohol rule of Maidan and mostly warmed around bonfires in barrels and hot tea with very few Champaign bottles in sight.