- Posted March 30, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Together We Are Strong!
Some time back in December of 2014, a few weeks after thousands of people started gathering to protest on Maidan in Kiev, another group of protesters self-organized – AutoMaidan. Groups of cars with Ukrainian flags drove around the city, showing their support of Maidan protest against regime of Yanukovich. Similar AutoMaidans were organized in other cities. The activists of AutoMaidan were easily identifiable (by their license plates) and they were among the people who were harassed by government the most. Some were kidnapped and tortured, some were found killed, many of their cars were burned at night or attacked even during the day.
In January AutoMaidan tried to “visit” ex-president’s home and of course, they were blocked by riot police. Most of the people who participated in that initiative lost their driver’s licenses over the next few weeks. Not surprisingly in the list of dictatorial laws that Parliament has voted on January 16th was a law that could put you in prison for driving in a group that had more than 5 cars in it. That law was specifically targeting AutoMaidan activists.
In spite all the dangers AutoMaidan continued then. And it continues now! Yesterday AutoMaidans of Kiev, Cherkassy, Kherson, Odessa, Mykolayiv joined in together and drove across the country.
Their number one goal was to take food and various supplies to the Ukrainian soldiers who were defending our borders. AutoMaidan wanted to encourage the troops, to show the support of the people of Ukraine. The situation on the border is very tense. Large numbers of Russian troops have gathered on the border with Ukraine. Russians are trying to cause provocations. Border guards are working hard not to allow into Ukraine civilian Russians who come to stir up pro-Russian meetings in southern and eastern cities of Ukraine and to aggressively attack pro-Ukrainian gatherings in those cities. It’s not an easy task to protect Ukraine from this kind of provocateurs since there is no visa regime between Ukraine and Russia.
Another goal of joined AutoMaidan yesterday was to encourage each other and people in the cities and villages that AutoMaidan drove through, to show that we are together, that we love our country and we want to join forces to protect it from Russian aggressors.
Natalia Krasiuk, one of participants of AutoMaidan from Cherkassy, wrote on her Facebook page, “Can a person not sleep for 36 hours, drive for 24 hours between Cherkassy, Kalanchak, Kherson, Mykolayiv, Cherkassy and still feel energized? Yes! It was an amazing day full of positive energy and emotions! Lots of interesting people! And a great sense of belonging to something important!”
Nickolay Kudryavtsev said, “Sunrise driving in Kherson step, sunset driving through Kirovograd, 40 hours without sleep, together with Cherkassy AutoMaidan! We drove 1200 kilometers today! We visited soldiers protecting our borders, joined with AutoMaidan from Kherson and Kiev, participated in a meeting of Mykolayiv AutoMaidan! Lots of emotions! But the main thing, after driving across Ukraine today I am sure that our country is united and everything is going to be good for Ukraine!”
Pictures were provided by Natalia Krasiuk and Olga Zorya.