EuroMaidan crowds stretched a long way from Independence Square. The size of the crowd was assessed as several hundred thousand at the Dec. 15 rally.
© Kostyantyn Chernichkin
Editor's Note: The Kyiv Post is providing continuous coverage of the protests in Kyiv and other cities following the government's decision on Nov. 21 to stop European Union integration by rejecting an association agreement. The rallies started on Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square). The events can be followed on Twitter using hashtags #euromaidan and #євромайдан or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EuroMaydan.
Czech support arrives
Karel Schwarzenberg, the Czech politician and former foreign minister, visited the EuroMaidan demonstrations on Dec. 14-15. He gave civil society activist Ihor Lutsenko a Czech flag. "The Czech Republic is with you," Scharwzenberg said. "I salute your courage." -- Brian Bonner
A view of the nighttime EuroMaidan
Anti-Maidan protesters claim they were cheated out of money by protest organizers
Dec. 15, 9:07 p.m. The people who were bused in from the regions to a pro-government demonstration, dubbed anti-Maidan, were cheated out of the promised honorarium, writes Gazeta.ua. On the night of Dec. 14 there were about 50 or 60 buses parked by the exhibition center where they were lodged. People were promised Hr 150 per diem for Saturday and Sunday, and an additional Hr 25 for every hour of the meeting, participants told Gazeta's correspondent. This was supposed to come up to Hr 800 altogether, according to their calculations.
But after today's rally, which lasted from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m., they were handed out Hr 300 each and told to go home early.
“We're now being sent home. As far as I understand, we are being replaced by other people who were also promised Hr 800. But they will be cheated the same as us. We can no longer find the man in charge who promised us money,” says Mykhailo from Petropavlivsk. The newspaper did not give his last name. A representative of the Party of Regions denied allegations, though. “People came to express their will. We paid them Hr 300 per diem. I did not promise any money to them, I am here with my voters,” said Artur Martovytskiy, a lawmaker from the Party of Regions.
Nationalist Protesters knock a Soviet star off the city hall gate
Dec. 15, 8:11 p.m. One of the protesters broke a Soviet star of the gate by the city hall, one of the many remaining symbols of the Soviet era in the capital. The move comes just a week after a crowd led by Svoboda ultra-nationalist party toppled a statue of Vladimir Lenin just a few blocks away from the city hall and two weeks after the city hall itself was taken over by protesters.
A video of the event shows a man who climbed up the gate to take down the star, which was a natural choice of symbol to decorate the grand building when it was erected in the 1950s. Onlookers are heard shouting "Slava Ukraini!" -or Glory to Ukraine - as the star falls off.
EuroMaidan protesters dwell on compatriots ‘forced’ to attend pro-government rally
Dec. 15, 7:15 p.m. Protesters at Independence Square are coping with cold thanks to numerous burning barrels, warm tea and food offered by volunteers.
They feel sorry about thousands of fellow Ukrainians who are at another, pro-government rally located in Mariyinsky Park. Vasyl Hryniv, 63, a pensioner from Ivano-Frankivsk region said that people at the so called anti-Maidan came there under threat of losing their jobs in state-run companies or institutions. “It’s a shame to force teachers to go there,” said Hryniv who was standing in line for a hot tea.
Uliana Sytnyk, 30, came to EuroMaidan from Hamburg, Germany this morning. “I was watching it on TV and was moved by what’s going on in Kyiv. So I decided to come here,” she said, adding that as her father was Ukrainian and she felt bond with this country. “Ukrainians are not in the European Union but they are struggling for European values right now, which is amazing” she said. Sytnyk said she was planning to go and see people on at the pro-government rally. “Those people seem to be paid, they are poor people from eastern Ukraine,” she said. – Oksana Grytsenko, Anastasia Forina
SBU denies plans of terrorist acts
Dec. 15, 5:15 p.m. Ukraine’s state security service, the SBU, today harshly rebuffed Batkivshchyna lawmaker Andriy Kozhemyakin’s statement that it is planning a terrorist act in a public area, its official website states.
“The assumption that was publicized has no basis and is insulting to all personnel of the Ukrainian secret service,” the SBU said. “Throughout the 22-year history of an independent Ukrainian state, despite the various stages of its formation and development, the State Security Service of Ukraine remains a government body which has unconditionally stood and stands as the guardian of the national security of Ukraine: its sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability, constitutional order and national security.”
The SBU added that it was especially shocked to hear such a statement coming from a former high-ranking SBU officer. Kozhemyakin was the deputy head of the SBU in 2007. Earlier today Kozhemyakin said the SBU was planning a terrorist attack in a populated public area, presumably in or near Independence Square. – Mark Rachkevych
Pro-government deputies, protesters share views on situation in Ukraine Dec. 15, 3:50 p.m. ''This rally will go on until that Maidan ends. And I want to say that the revolution which is constructing barricades outside is doomed, ''Oleg Tsarev, Party of Regions deputy told the Kyiv Post. ''The demands (of opposition) are fulfiled already. People have been punished and we are going to punish more,'' he said.
''Today they are calling us a fake Maidan. But dear friends, do you remember how their (2004) maidan ended?" said Yevheniy Bayetsky, addressing the participants of pro-government rally from soundstage. ''We will win, we have strong president.'' he said.
''There are 45 million of us. Crucial decisions shouldbe made via referendum. The question should be do we want in Europe or not. People should decide on that,'' said Yevheniy Sharov who came from Crimea to join pro-presidential rally.
''Look at that chaos that is going on on that Maidan. We can create Europe in our own country. We will stay here till the end,'' Antonina Megrin from Zhytomyr region said. -- Anastasiya Forina, Oksana Grytsenko
A hug at EuroMaidan
Empty military tents at anti-Maidan
Dec. 15, 3:50 p.m. The military tents in Mariyinskiy Park, the site where pro-government protesters are located, are mostly empty, says journalist Pavel Sheremet. The Party of Regions, the organizer of these strikes, said it would bring 200,000 people out to the streets. But the real turnout has been much lower, depite the government's effort to bring in both public sector workers and paid protesters from the regions.
Latest pictures from EuroMaidan from social networks
Yatseniuk: We prevented bloodshed
Dec. 15, 3:15 p.m. Speaking on stage, Batkivshchyna leader Arseniy Yatseniuk said that the people’s mottos is: “Cold mind, hot heart, steel nerves.”
He added that through their actions, organizers and protesters managed to stop the country from splitting and that bloodshed was avoided.
In his turn, while speaking, UDAR leader Vitali Klitschko noticed a group of hired thugs in the crowd. He reportedly said, "Provocateurs? Let them wait, I'll come soon". – Olga Rudenko
Man dies on Independence Square, preliminary diagnosis is heart attack
Dec. 15, 3 p.m. A 54-year-old man died at approximately 10:40 a.m. near the Archangel St. Michael monument on Independence Square, Kyiv police say. The preliminary diagnosis and cause of death is heart attack. Police say he is a resident of Kyiv Oblast and stated there no were no signs of a violent death.
This is the second reported death on Independence Square since protesters took to the streets on Nov. 21. On the morning of Dec. 6 police found a man dead of pulmonary tuberculosis. – Mark Rachkevych
Police knows of ‘provocation’ plan to ‘destabilize’ rallies in Kyv
Dec. 15, 2:50 p.m. The Kyiv police says it has “intelligence” of planned provocations designed to “destabilize the situation during peaceful protests in the capital,” its official website announced.
Citing acting Kyiv police chief, Gen.-Maj. Valeriy Mazan, the statement calls on the public to be careful and not fall prey to “provocations” that call on people to violate public order. It asks that people call in suspicious activity regarding possible provocations to the police (by dialing 102).
Referring to so-called hired thugs who instigate fights, Okean Elzy frontman Sviatoslav Vakarchuk tweeted that the phenomenon "humiliates the country. "One must fight them, in the first place, with education, culture and by being positive. Strength does not work." – Olga Rudenko, Mark Rachkevych
Activist resolution: Release all political prisoners, including Tymoshenko
Dec. 15, 2:45 p.m. Civic activist and journalists Tetyana Chornovil issued a resolution from state that calls on President Viktor Yanukovych to “release all political prisoners, including ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko,” UNIAN news agency reports. – Mark Rachkevych
Tyahnybok says Ukraine will not tolerate a new Bolshevik empire
Dec. 15, 2:30 p.m. Oleh Tyahnybok says from stage: “We understand perfectly well that they want to revive USSR. That's why Dec. 17 is a very important day for us. That's when we must say “no” to any union managed by Moscow. We do not mandate the president to sign anything in Moscow. We won't tolerate a Bolshevik empire back on our land.”
"After Lenin fell on Bessarabka a week ago, the whole of Ukraine must get united," he said. --Olga Rudenko.
Pro-government rally festive, little interest shown to political speeches
Dec. 15, 2:30 p.m. More than 10,000 pro-government supporters are rallying in Mariyinsky park near parliament. Often wearing clothes and brandishing flags of Party of Regions, people were seen walking around the park area, eating and dancing. "We have a beautiful, friendly and positive atmosphere here," said Artur Sokolov, 35, from Zaporizhzhia. "I'm supporting our president, and I think it is early for us to go into the European Union."
Not all the participants of rally were so friendly. "There are curtains to that Maidan," said another man covering his face with a scarf and refusing to give his name.
People showed little interest to the speeches being given by politicians but were happily dancing to songs by prominent Ukrainian opera singer Volodymyr Hryshko. "I am a singer not only for one part of Ukraine, but for all the country. I stand for peace in the entire state," Hryshko told the Kyiv Post adding that if invited to the pro-European rally he would definitely go there. – Okisana Grytsenko and Anastasia Forina
Klitschko speaks from stage
Dec. 15,2:25 p.m. Vitali Klitschko takes to the stage. He congratulates everyone for taking part in "this joint battle that goes on for living in a better country."
Klitschko hailed the criminal proceedings that were started by the general prosecutor's office against Deputy Head of the National Security Council Volodymyr Sivkovych and City Administrator Oleksandr Popov for giving an order to attack a peaceful demonstration on Nov. 30. He said it was just the first wave, and more top officials have to bear responsibility for the brutal beatings.
"It's not a National Security Council, it's the National Danger Council because it gives orders to attack peaceful people," he said.
Klitschko also said that the main demand of the Maidan is clear - the current government must leave. "We demand the full reboot of the government," he said.--Olga Rudenko
Activist demands release of political prisoners
Dec. 15, 2:20 p.m. Tatyana Chornovil, an activist of EuroMaidan, demanded from stage that all polticial prisoners are released by the government. She read a resolution to that effect. --Olga Rudenko
Portnikov says democratic Russia and Belarus is with EuroMaidan
Dec. 15, 2:19 p.m. Journalist Vitaliy Portnikov made an appeal to the Ukrainians in Russia and Belarus. “I want to address our brothers in Russia and Belarus. We know how tough it is to have pro-Maidan rallies in your countries. I want to address you with the words of Anna Akhmatova: 'I know what's at stake. It's a time of courage, and courage won't leave us.' People of Maidan, the democratic Belarus and Russia are with us.” --Olga Rudenko
Ruslana received an award, makes an appeal to EU
Dec. 15, 2 p.m. Singer Ruslana, who supported EuroMaidan from the very first days of its existence, was awarded with an “Intellectual Award” on stage. She said “there are people here who are much braver than me and deserve it more.”
She also made an appeal to the European Union “to do everything possible” to ensure EU integration and cancel visas for Ukrainians.
“Let's all pass this request to the EU. Please, people, come to Maidan at night. We have very hot tea,” she said. --Olga Rudenko
U.S. Senators McCain, Murphy address EuroMaidan
Dec. 15, 1:50 p.m.
Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.) uplifted the crowd with the common message that Ukraine belongs in the European community of countries. Eventually, the crowd erupted in chants of “Thank you, USA!”
Murphy said: “There are moments in history when a nation faces a choice. A choice between the past or a brave new choice with the future. Ukraine’s future stands with Europe and the U.S. stands with Ukraine. As the youngest of 100 young U.S. senators, I have a special message to all the young people who are gathered here today: The way toward change goes through peaceful protests. In America we stand in awe that despite the violence on this square (that you faced from police) you have remained peaceful toward change. We know that change won’t be easy but if you are successful, the U.S. senate will stand with you every step of the way.”
McCain followed up with: “We are here together (with Sen. Murphy) speaking for the American people in solidarity with you. We are here because your peaceful process and peaceful protests is inspiring your country and the world. We are here to support your just cause. The sovereign right to determine its own destiny freely and independently and the destiny you seek lies in Europe… Ukraine will make Europe better and Europe will make Ukraine better. America stands with you.”
McCain then specifically address the Afghan veterans who fought for the Soviet Union – they have been providing security on Independence Square and conducting patrols: “I thank your service in war and for your service for peace here on the Maidan. Raise your hands Afghan veterans.”
He then addressed the police: “Let me also say to all the young police officers here on the Maidan. We respect your service and patriotism and always be guided by your duty to protect the citizens. People of Ukraine, this is your moment, this is about you, no one else. This is about the future you want for your country, this is about the future you deserve. A future in Europe. A future in peace, the free world is with you, America is with you, I am with you."
McCain then quoted Ukrainian bard Taras Shevchenko: “Love your Ukraine, love her in cruel times, love her in tough moments, pray to god for her, thank you and god bless.” –Mark Rachkevych
Celebrity doctor makes an appeal to politicians from stage
Dec. 15, 1:50 p.m. Olga Bogomolets, a famous Ukrainian doctor, gave a speech from the stage on EuroMaidan with several suggestions to politicians. She said they should no longer use billboards for their ads, but instead direct the money into medicine for all those children who are being treated in hospitals without medicines, as well as introduce a ban on buying expensive cars for them, and instead issue travel cards for public transport. She said lawmakers should also move their official offices to the public transport. “This is when we're going to get normal roads at last,” she said.
Police: 35,000 total protesters in Kyiv
Dec. 15, 1:45 p.m. Kyiv police say that as of 1 p.m. there are 20,000 protesters on Independence Square and 15,000 more in Mariinsky Park where a rival rally is taking place in favor of President Viktor Yanukovych’s government. There are no reports of public order being disrupted.
The reports run counter to what on-the-ground Kyiv Post journalists are reporting, as well as other media outlets. – Mark Rachkevych
Pensioner wants new government, leaders in place
Dec. 15, 1:20 p.m. Leonid Zakhozhiy, 58, a pensioner from Kyiv, who has been attending the EuroMaidan rally for the past four days said he wants a new government “on all levels” in place, referring to how Georgia installed a new generation of leaders in 2003 during a civil uprising.
"There is much less people today. Perhaps it because of all the people from Donbass brought to the alternative protest. Maybe people were scared by reports of possible provocations. I'm sure there will be more beatings and violence. This whole thing is far from being over,” Zakhozhiv told the Kyiv Post. -- Olga Rudenko
Bohomolets calls for law to punish politicians and officials who lie to public
Dec. 15, 1:10 p.m. EuroMaidan organizers are calling today’s mass rally the “Day of Dignity.” The third of its kind since protesters first took to the streets on Nov. 21, organizers are calling people to head to Independence Square to defender their personal dignity and rights.
Following a morning mass delivered by several members of various faiths and clergy, famous dermatologist and public activist Olha Bohomolets took the stage to call on parliament to pass a bill that would punish elected and appointed government officials and lawmakers for telling lies to people.
“Fight the lies that government officials are telling us…if there’s no one against the truth, then let’s stand here today and call on parliament to pass a bill for lying among government officials…to pass a bill to give them money not for vehicles but to be able to ride in public transportation free of charge…we live in a kingdom of theft that occupies the presidential administration and cabinet of ministers buildings…I propose our politicians and officials to conduct economic campaigns that would improve the lives of people…” – Mark Rachkevych
Lviv EuroMaidan continues
Dec. 15, 1 p.m. A rally in Lviv is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. to call on President Viktor Yanukovych and his appointed government to resign today on Prospekt Svobody in the center. After Kyiv, the western Ukrainian city has had the biggest ongoing anti-government rally.
EuroMaidan gathers hundreds of thousands
Dec. 15, 12:30 p.m. Hundreds of thousands gathered on Maidan Nezalezhnosti on Dec. 15 to protest against the government. The protests are now in their fourth week.
Skryabin hails EuroMaidan
Dec. 15, 10:50 a.m. Ukraine's famous singer Kuzma Skryabin shot a short video of encouragement for Euromaidan Protesters, saying that he is proud to live in the country with such people. "Now when I say Glory To Heroes, I know that this is about you! Glory to Heroes of Maidan," he said in his video address. -- Daryna Shevchenko
Dec. 15, 10:30 a.m. Participants of the rally organized by the Party of Regions are arriving to the venue where they will hold a demonstration in support of the authorities, the Constitutional Square by the parliament.
Organized groups of demonstrators are walking towards the square from various directions, while others gather at the entrance to the Mariinsky Park .
There were 30 large army tents set up in Mariinski park by 8:30 a.m. Some of the protesters spent the night there. Some of them are warming up by the fires.
Participants of the rally hold posters with the names of their towns, districts, state and Regoins party flags. --Interfax-Ukraine
Read the coverage of the Dec. 14 events here.
Read the coverage of the Dec. 13 events here.
Read the coverage of the Dec. 12 events here.
Read the coverage of the Dec. 11 events here.
Read the coverage of the Dec. 10 events here.
Read the coverage of the Dec. 9 events here.
Read the coverage of the Dec. 8 events here.
Read the coverage of the Dec. 7 events here.
Read the coverage of the Dec. 6 events here.
Read the coverage of the Dec. 5 events here.
Read the coverage of the Dec. 4 events here.
Read the coverage of the Dec. 3 events here.
Read the coverage of the Dec. 2 events here.