Attempt to remove Maidan
Today, on Thursday, in the late hours of morning, the troops of Kiev-1 battalion undertook an attempt to remove the Maidan from the centre of the capital. The troops entered the Khreshhatik simultaneously from European Square and the so-called Bassarabka. The Maidan fighters, armed with clubs and Molotov cocktails, repulsed the first assault and set fire to the barricades protecting the stage. At present the Maidan defenders are holding their ground, whilst the Kiev-1 battalion has withdrawn; probably in anticipation of new orders.
Speculation on the possible development of events runs wild, but the Maidan members all say that should the government send a more substantive force, the Maidan will not hold out. Meanwhile, it appears that all sorts of people are ready to rush to its defence; it was only yesterday that almost everyone asked told me that the Maidan had been there for too long and needed to be removed, whereas now I have witnessed the Self-Defence being joined by some bystanders and journalists – with their own differing motives, such as “Maidan is necessary – as the backbone for the anti-terrorist operation” or “’because the government think they can do what they like and need to be resisted”.
Just as six months ago – barricades rise, the freshly-laid pavement is ripped up again, Molotov cocktails are brewed. The situation, however, is drastically different – over the last months, support for Maidan has waned and massive support from Kiev citizens is not expected. The majority of barricades have been dismantled; there are virtually no tires left to create a smoke-screen or hold the militia at bay, as it used to be when Yanukovich’s forces were storming Maidan.
Well – back then it used to be the militia, now the Kiev-1 battalion, partly composed of the former Self-Defence fighters. Hence the talk of the first assault members of the unwillingness of the troops to actually remove the tents; as one of the fierce Maidan defenders said, “They simply know what they’re doing is not right".