CNN PRODUCER NOTE jfrancisco told us, 'From the stage, many types of speakers address the crowds. I have seen overtly political speeches, as well as testimonials, songs, and many prayer vigils by lay people and clergy alike. This location has become the center of public activity in Lviv concerning the Euromaidan crisis. The mood of the gatherings yesterday and today have been anxious and tense, but calm. The people gathering there represent every demographic of the city, as I tried to show in my pictures: old and young, poor and wealthy. There is some presence of the right wing extremists, such as the Pravy Sektor, but these people are certainly in the minority. It is fair to say that the city is virtually entirely behind the opposition, and this accounts for perhaps the most conspicuous thing about the situation here: the security presence, which is virtually nonexistent. The police are nowhere to be seen on the streets, in stark contrast obviously with Kiev.'
- hhanks, CNN iReport producer
As the news breaks from Kyiv of continuing deaths today in new clashes between the riot police and opposition streetfighters, the situation in the western city of Lviv is very different. Without saying that extremist provocateurs are absent in Lviv, extremists have not been a part of the city's collective response in the most public and visible gathering points. The city is strongly behind the opposition, but is expressing its political resistance peacefully: through peaceful marches, free and open speech from a city-sponsored stage built in the center of the city, peaceful public prayer, spontaneous acts of voluntary public service, vigilance and quiet solidarity. There is, of course, a great deal of anger, sadness, and anxiety, but the people of Lviv are presenting a very different face of resistance to the images from the battle zone in central Kyiv.
It is critical to note that the security situation in the city is also utterly different from the situation in Kyiv. There have been no deaths, no near deaths, no conflicts between the police and the public whatsoever. Not only are the police not stopping peaceful public protest in all its varieties, but there is essentially no police presence on the streets at all. The single noteworthy act of violence in the city in the last two, an attack on a local police precinct, occurred as the police stood by watching it happen. Within twelve hours, the public had cleaned the sidewalk and and began mending the building.
The following photographs show what I have seen in the streets of Lviv on February 19th and 20th. I offer them in several parts.
The first shows a march through the city streets.
The second shows before and after pictures of the cleanup around the police precinct.
The third and fourth show the situation in the main gathering location on Prosp. Svobody.
The fifth shows something of daily life in the city.
Lviv, Ukraine, February 20, 2014