People warm themselves around a bonfire during a rally of the pro-European movement in central Kiev, on November 27, 2013, on the fourth day of protests over the government's decision to scrap a key pact with the EU. Ukraine said on November 27 it still wanted to reach a historic deal on closer ties with the European Union, as mass protests over a move to scrap the pact went into a fourth day. AFP PHOTO /GENYA SAVILOV
Editor's Note: The Kyiv Post will be providing continuous coverage of the protests in Kyiv and other cities following the government's decision on Nov. 21 to stop European Union integration and suspend pursuit of an association agreement. The rallies started on Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) the night of Nov. 21 and are continuing in Kyiv and other cities ahead of the Nov. 28-29 summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, at which Ukraine and the EU were scheduled to have signed a political and free trade deal. The events can be followed on Twitter using hashtags #euromaidan and #євромайдан or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EuroMaydan.
Watch Radio Svoboda's live video of EuroMaidan rallies HERE
SEE OTHER KYIV POST EUROMAIDAN COVERAGE HERE:
EuroMaidan rallies (live updates): EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine
EuroMaidan rallies on Nov. 25: EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine
EuroMaidan rallies on Nov. 24: EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine
EuroMaidan rallies from Nov. 21-23: EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine
See also coverage of the first night of the protests: "Nine years after start of Orange Revolution, Kyivans take to streets in protest of scuttled EU deal"
More police at Maidan
Nov.26, 11:40 p.m. As an eyewitness from Maidan Nezalezhnosti told the Kyiv Post, after protesters from European Square joined with those on Maidan, the streetlights went out, and more riot police officers came to the square. Based in a fenced area between the crowd, National Conservatorium and the New Year Tree construction spot, around 150 officers stood in tight groups. Meanwhile, around 2,500 people stayed at Maidan, listening to music and dancing. -- Olga Rudenko
Two rallies unite
Nov. 26, 10:25 p.m. Jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko encouraged the protesters to put down all the political parties' flags and unite the two Maidans. She said so in a letter that her daughter Eugenia Tymoshenko read to the people in Kharkiv. According to LB.ua, protesters on European square started taking down flags and tents of political parties. The crowd started moving towards Maidan Nezalezhnosti to join other protesters there. -- Olga Rudenko
A quiet night all over Kyiv
Nov. 26, 9:35 p.m. The mix of music and politics is going off calmly tonight, in contrast to last night's fight over the demonstrators' brief seizure of a surveillance mini-van belonging to the nation's security service. While the Motorola band played, the big screens showed footage of Yulia Tymoshenko in prison and from her time as prime minister.
Meanwhile, columns of cars cruised around Kyiv with European Union flags. Kozak System frontman Ivan Lenyo said that he will perform tomorrow. He sang a Ukrainian folk song "Cossack was going through town" from the stage. Patriotic war songs from OUN-UPA (the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and Ukrainian Insurgent Army) were sung. The band Gaidamaky performed. The lead singer, despite the freezing temperatures, performed shirtless. Maidan Nezalezhnosti is a cheerful place tonight, but not much news, folks. -- Vlad Lavrov, Olga Rudenko and Daryna Shevchenko
Tomorrow's focus is Cabinet of Ministers
Nov. 26, 8:45 p.m. Even as tonight's rally is going on, the opposition is thinking about tomorrow. Oleksandr Turchynov, the former deputy prime minister under imprisoned ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, is calling on people to meet outside the Cabinet of Ministers building at 9 a.m. One of the EuroMaidan's key demands -- that parliament be called in for a special session on Nov. 27 to pass laws required for integration with the European Union -- has not been met. Turchynov wants protesters to put pressure on the government tomorrow. However, it seems certain that Ukraine's parliament will not meet before the Eastern Partnership Summit takes place in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Nov. 28-29. The opposition leaders -- Arseniy Yatseniuk, Vitali Klitschko and Oleh Tyahnybok say they will attend the Cabinet of Ministers meeting. -- Brian Bonner
Advice from a Russian living in Ukraine
Nov. 26, 7:35 p.m. Russian journalist Artem Skoropadsky, who has been living in Ukraine for nine years, compared the protest movements in the two nations and advised Ukrainians not to repeat the mistakes of Russians. "In Ukraine, 100,000 people came to the streets for the second time in nine years, and in Russia, in 2012, the first time in 20 years. But after the protests in Russia, people came back home and the opposition started negotiations with the government, but it didn't work out, because the government was scared only for one day. It was their mistake that people left the streets." -- Olga Rudenko
Encouragement from Lithuania
Nov. 26, 7:32 p.m. "I believe that everythign will be OK. Lithuania believes that Ukraine will be part of our a united Europe in Lithuania," Loreta Grauziniene, the speaker of the Lithuanian parliament, told the crowd. -- Vlad Lavrov
Crowd regular wants protests to be more active
Nov. 26, 7:20 p.m. Vitaliy Kapranov, a publisher and writer, comes to the EuroMaidan rallies every day after work with his twin brother and partner, Dmytro, and stays for several hours. He says he is dissatisfied with the "soft" protests and says that only active actions can bring results. "LIke it happened in Moldova. People stormed the Cabinet of Ministers on one of the first nights, but then all these pacifists came." Authorities, from Prime Minister Mykola Azarov to Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko, say they will allow peaceful protests, but punish lawbreakers. -- Olga Rudenko
Crowd size grows as speakers take the stage
6:51 p.m. The crowd is growing in both demonstration places, Maidan Nezalezhnosti and European Square, with the student-led Maidan a more festive place. Stil about 5,000 people are at European Square and more are coming. About a third of the square is now occupied. -- Vlad Lavrov and Olga Rudenko
Older crowd prefers European Square
Nov. 26, 6:27 p.m. The makeup of the crowd at European Square is much different than the student-dominated one at Maidan Nezalezhnosti, less than a kilometer away from each other on the main Khreshchatyk Street. About 1,000 people were present by 5:30 p.m., a half hour before the scheduled start. The crowd was dominated by middle-age people and older, with a lot of 50-plus women at the gathering and few people under 30. Cars are not blocked. Everyone fits into the small space near Ukrainian House. Two giant barrels with fires keep people warm.There's also about 30 tents, including several with logos from the opposition parties, one emergency medical tent, one information center, one tent with hot tea and food. One of tonight's scheduled guest speakers is Loreta Grauziniene, the speaker of the Lithuanian parliament. The goal of the EuroMaidan demonstrations is to get Ukraine's government to sign an association agreement with the European Union at the Nov. 28-29 summit in Vilnius. -- Olga Rudenko and Vlad Lavrov
Cabinet of Ministers working, police cold, no demonstrators
Nov. 26, 6:04 pm. No protesters are near the Cabinet of Ministers, where the lights are on and government officials are presumably working. Yet a half-dozen police buses remain parked next to the building, with 40 police officers guarding the building. They are clearly very cold and don't appear to be enjoying their jobs at the moment. -- Olga Rudenko
City of Kyiv welcomes protesters!
Nov. 26, 5:36 p.m A night after clashes between police and demonstrators drew international attention, Kyiv's authorities are taking a different tack: They are going to shower protesters in warmth and a welcoming attitude. The city has installed a heating tent at Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), where about 2,000 students are rallying. At the tent, hot tea and sandwiches are served. The kind gestures appear to be an acceleration of the Ukrainian authorities' attempt to portray themselves as allies with the demonstrators who, in many cases, are calling for the government to resign if it doesn't sign an assocation agreement with the European Union this week. It's now 0 degrees Celsius in Kyiv with temperatures to dip to below freezing tonight. It has started to snow. Some of the students started gathering at 2 p.m. Many of the banners sported the names of the universities that the student demonstrators attend. Ukrainian singer Ruslana is reading poems about the European Union and Ukraine that students are posting to their Twitter accounts. Ruslana replaces the dirty words with similar words. She laughs a lot and students appreciate her presence greatly. -- Vlad Lavrov and Olga Rudenko
Students stay at Maidan
Nov. 26, 3:39 p.m. Thousands of students from Kyiv Mohyla Academy and National Taras Shevchenko University have gathered at Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square), singing songs, dancing to the music and calling on the students of other city’s universities to join the student rally. “KPI come here!”, “Bohomoltsya, come here,” students shout, calling all the Kyiv universities they can remember. -- Daryna Shevchenko
Activists report incidences of hackers taking over social media accounts of protesters, opposition members
Nov. 26, 2:32 p.m. Reports are coming in from Twitter and Facebook that the social media accounts of EuroMaidan protesters and civic activists are being hacked and disreputable messages being posted in place of rally news and commentary.
Oksana Romaniuk, director of Kyiv-based media watchdog the Institute of Mass Information, wrote on Facebook that numerous incidences have already occurred. Romaniuk believes it is the same group of hackers which hacked the accounts of journalists and civic activists before this fall who are behind the hacks today. "Because they target only oppositional politicians, journalists, or civic activists," she says. "I haven't heard of any hacked account of pro-government politician, and the aim is the same: discreditation and intimidation."
Ukrainska Pravda also reported that the social media accounts of opposition members and their staff have been hacked.
Romanuik urgers journalists and activists to change their passwords to their social media accounts regularly and to check often that their accounts have not been compromised. More details as to how to protect personal accounts on social media can be found here (text in Ukrainian). -- Christopher J. Miller
More than 1,000 students joining pro-European protests
Nov. 26, 2:15 p.m. Numbering over 1,000, university students in Kyiv and from Lviv today announced a student strike to voice their desire for Ukraine to choose European integration. The Kyiv Post’s Olena Goncharova will soon follow-up with a story on the topic. -- Mark Rachkevych
Emergency unit opens for protesters
Nov. 26, 2 p.m. Doctor, singer and maecenas Olha Bohomolets opened a mobile emergency medical unit at European square, where protesters gather. “If someone feels like seeing a doctor, please do so. Our nurse is fully equipped to provide the first aid,” Bohomolets wrote on her Facebook page. -- Daryna Shevchenko
Students go on strike
Nov. 26, 1:40 p.m. Today, students of at least two prominent universities, including Kyiv Mohyla Academy and National University of Taras Shevchenko left the classes and went to the European Square to participate in the rally. Twitter users report that thousands of students are walking to the square. -- Olga Rudenko
Tonight's musical entertainment
Nov. 26, 1:22 p.m. The opposition Batkivshchyna party said that, at the 6 p.m. tonight EuroMaidan rally, the rock bands "Motor' r olla," "Haydamaky" and "Panke Shava" will perform. There will also be appearances by opposition political leaders and other public figures. -- Brian Bonner
Yatseniuk outlines EuroMaidan's future strategy
Nov. 26, 12: 55 p.m. Arseniy Yatseniuk, the leader of the opposition Batkivshchyna party, knows how to count votes. Outtakes from his speech at last night's EuroMaidan rally: "We should be frank. Today we don’t have enough votes for impeachment procedure in parliament, so legally the impeachment will be blocked. But there is a real impeachment - the impeachment that is happening now in the country. Hundreds of squares in Ukraine are filled with people who want to join the European Union and and against someone who wants to kill Ukraine’s hope for EU integration and this is personally (President Viktor) Yanukovych. We are on Maidan until Nov. 29. Today we were picketing the government to make them cancel their decision. If the agreement is not signed, we need to develop a whole new strategic plan of a victory at presidential elections of pro-European president. And it will take many months. Those are street rallies, Maidens, parliamentarian work. This is a complicated complex. But those are things that will help to finally get European authorities. I was hoping for people to come out. I hoped that this will touch people from inside. And it did. And I am happy." -- Daryna Shevchenko
Nov. 26, 12: 40 p.m. Lviv historian emphasizes age as key difference between Orange Revolution and pro-European protesters
Lviv historian Yaroslav Hrytsak said the big difference between the protesters of 2004 during the Orange Revolution and the pro-European demonstrators today are their age:
“This is a revolution of the youth in comparison to what happened in 2004. This is a revolution of the generation that we call the contemporaries of Ukraine’s independence (ho were born around the time of 1991). This movement has different values and has a different social basis. This revolution contrasts with Ukraine’s Orange Revolution or with Georgia Rose Revolution (in 2003); it is more similar to the Occupy Wall Street protests or those in Istanbul demonstrations (of this year). It’s a revolution of young people who are very educated, people who are active in social media, who are mobile and 90 percent of whom have university degrees, but who don’t have futures.
“They don’t have guarantees that they’ll have successful careers if they are not the children of President Viktor Yanukovych or someone else (in power). This is their rebellion, this is an uprising of people who should be part of the middle class but because of their disposition they resemble more and more the proletariat. This is the equivalent of Ukraine, I think. The only way out of the situation for them is not to change politicians but to change the nation.
“Young people are skeptical of the older generation of politicians, and overall have a skeptical stance to the older form of politics…they want new slogans. The people gathered here in Lviv and Kyiv are trying to give birth to new slogans and a new Ukraine.
“If I didn’t believe they could achieve this, I wouldn’t be here (at the protest in Lviv).”
-- Mark Rachkevych
Small crowd, calm start to morning protest on Day 6
Nov. 26, 11:00 a.m. Protesters still stay near the Cabinet, but take no action.
Nov. 26, 9:30 a.m. So far, so good. After last night's scuffles over a police surveillance van, in which members of the opposition seized the vehicle and the man operating it -- prompting riot police to come to the rescue -- today's protests are starting slowly and calmly. There were maybe less than 200 demonstrations and about 40 police officers on the streets, with others in buses. The demonstrators are holding flags from the European Union, Ukraine and the Batkischyna opposition party. Many of them are older women accompanied by member of parliament Serhiy Pashynsky. They are chanting "Free Yulia." Meanwhile, the person they want set free, imprisoned ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, announced last night that she is going on a hunger strike in support of Ukraine's signing an association agreement with the European Union. -- Kateryna Kapliuk