The Maidan is constantly changing
The Maidan is constantly changing; every time I come here, it is a bit different. The last two weeks have been very quiet here, therefore souvenir peddlers returned, tents were abandoned, and concerts were held in the streets and on the stage. On the other hand, the atmosphere is becoming tense. Fatigue and lack of results have prompted a desire to return to radical measures. Barricades melted away, they were replaced with rubble, but nowthey appear much smaller. Today we held a rally, which previously, used to attract many people to gather, but attendance was probably lower than the last one.And previously, rallies were held with no major demands or consensus on ideas for planned action.
Some of the opposition decided to enter into an agreement with the government. Let me remind you that, in accordance with the law on amnesty, all the streets and buildings must be cleared. The court has now sanctioned the release of all detainees from custody. The next step for the protesters, is leaving city council building and rebuilding barricades on HrushevskohoStreet so as to enable the use of the street. This state of affairs will continue until all cases against activists are closed. If they are not, or the police will try to manipulate the situation – defence has a plan to swiftly return to the position which were in before the compromise. But what they will do if the court upholds the demands, is yet to be seen.
In connection with the above, the Mayor’s Office has already been cleared. Currently, cleaning work is being carried out there. The entrance is protected by a defence unit which looks like an anti-terrorist unit. This situation will continue also as whilst work is being carried out by the Councils, nobody is going to let the police enter the maidan (the Mayor’s office is located between the barricades on Kreshchatyk). In front of the entrance, approx. 500 people opposing the clearing of the building gathered; they claim it is a step backwards and could become the start of adefeat. On the other hand, on Hrushevskoho Street,the police cordon was withdrawn back to the parliament building. The defence unitdoes not allow anyone approach the gate of the Dynamo stadium. Barricades are being rebuilt so that the street willbe passable. Wrecks of buses are being moved away using heavy equipment. All is done under bilateral control.
Everything could change on Tuesday. Many people believe that on that day, the situation will be exacerbated again. Firstly, it is when the law on amnesty expires. Secondly, the decision on the exertion of ‘peaceful pressure’ has been issued, and the protest is to spread through the whole government quarter; thirdly, the parliament will convene at a meeting and should begin to make decisions.
Interesting words about the constitution and legitimacy of the authorities were uttered at the rally today. And so, according to the opposition, the president was elected under the parliamentary-cabinet system, and in the current presidential system, his support could have been completely different. Moreover, the constitution was allegedly amended illegally, under pressure from the Constitutional Court. They see the possibility of reverting to the previous version in the withdrawal of the decision of the court, or a simplified vote of parliament. Then, it will become possible to work on the amendments. There are also requirements which state that vetting should be carried out.
Initiative on the Maidan was taken fully by the defence unit. The number of participants is constantly increasing, their equipment is becoming increasingly more sophisticated and they appear more and more fearsome. First of all, I have the impression that they usurp power. That is, it is good that they maintain discipline, proper order and safety; without them, everything would have probably ended long ago, and tragically. However, the number of checks, orders and prohibitions which predominantly ban access to certain places, have reduced the sense of freedom. Most likely, it has to be so.
I visited Ukrainian House. It’s an amazing place; a place of real free culture. There are information desks, the headquarters of the AutoMaidan, a chapel, a concert hall, where lectures, animations and happenings are organised. In the library, you can borrow a book in exchange for a card giving your ‘word of honour’ that the book will be returned. The atmosphere is hard to describe, it is simply magical. Under normal circumstances, no such place would operate in this way.