War In the Streets of Kiev
A revolution, or a war, or whatever it should be called, has started in the streets of Kiev today. The onslaughts on the Maidan and Hrushevskoho street have turned out to be child’s play compared to the current situation. Two hours ago, as I was walking along Instytutska street, everything was on fire. Police cars, houses; and police officers could not be seen through black smoke. People were blindly throwing stones. There are no paving blocks remaining in Instytutska street. The defence, like a real army, was clearing up staircases where officers were hiding. Those standing at the entrance threw in their shells and then blocked the doors with shields. They then rushed into the buildings as police officers were shooting and throwing shells from the roofs. As I was filming one such staircase-attack, another journalist ran up to me and yelled that they were shooting from inside the house. I ran away. Right now the whole of Instytutska street is enclosed by barricades (along both sides), with tyres burning at the crossroads.
In Mariinsky park, near the Parliament building, there have beenfights, too. Nobody knows who started it all but the result was the police putting pressure on the protesters, trying to surround them. The defence pushed them out immediately. They were throwing molotov cocktails. Then titushki interfered. Some of them were taken away; they are now being kept in the House of Tradeunions at the Maidan. The situation is currently stable down there. Police are standing somewhat further away than at first, protecting Anti-Maidan and routes to the Parliament, the demonstrators have built barricades. Iryna Farion (The Svoboda Party) spoke up. She said that Rybak, the speaker of the Parliament, had been taken away by ambulance, as he had suffered some kind of ‘attack’. The Party of Regions retreated down to the cellar and did not want to hold meetings. They are afraid as they know what’s going on only 100 metres away. The opposition will block the Verkhovna Rada building, they won’t let anybody out until constitutional issues have been considered. They make threats that Maidan protesters will attack.
Its about 14:00, a terrible uproar has started at the crossroads of Sadova and Instytutska streets. For a long time, nobody knew what was happening. People were running first in one direction, then in another. Berkut forces have approached from below. THEY ARE SHOOTING AT RANDOM. Most likely – with rubber bullets, but it’s not certain. Right now it is the most volatile place. Gas, smoke, shells, bullets. They tried to attack the park, get round it along Instytutska street and surround it from Arsenalna. The defence didn’t allow them to do so.
They are also shooting on Instytutska street from behind the flaming barricade. Shooting at heads and chests. Ambulances are moving around all the time but they can’t always get through. Unofficially: the number of victims given by the media sources varies from 3 (espreso.tv) to 10 (oral report)
At the Maidan and in Hrushevskoho street everything’s calm now. People were burning tyres by the City Council, trying to attack it, there’s a fire inside.
Tsaryov, the deputy head of the Party of Regions fraction, has claimed in Parliament, that today is the very day for the President to disperse the Maidan and expel all the protesters from the capital (!!!). The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine appealed to other statesasking them to pay attention to the attempt at forceful seizure of power of the country byterrorists and extremists. There are reasons to fear of what will happen during the night. The metro is functioning thus far. It’s terribly unsteady and hot. It’s not only the defence who are fighting but ordinary peopleas well: students, old women, rich, poor, eastern ukrainians, western ukrainians, girls, boys. They carry tyres and form lines in order to pass stones...
A journalist from channel 112 asked what I, as an observer, thought about the course of events and whether I considered them ‘peaceful protests’ as they were supposed to be. I answered that the peaceful protesters came to Mariinsky park and wanted to picket the Verkhovna Rada building but the authorities and police didn’t let them in, demonstrating that they didn’t want any peaceful protests. So it became non-peaceful...