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EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine - Dec. 8

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Dec. 9, 2013, 10:46 a.m. | Ukraine — by Kyiv Post

Protesters storm the streets of central Kyiv on Dec. 8.
© AFP

Kyiv Post

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 and end pursuit of an association agreement. The rallies started on Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) and are continuing after the Nov. 28-29 summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, at which Ukraine and the EU failed to reach any agreement. The events can be followed on Twitter using hashtags #euromaidan and #євромайдан or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EuroMaydan.

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.

Read the morning coverage of the Dec. 1 events here, and the afternoon and evening coverage here.

Watch video of EuroMaidan events here on live stream and hromadske.tv

Protesters reinforce barricades near city hall

Dec. 8, 10:15 p.m. Protesters in masks are taking apart the scaffolding in front of a Svoboda office on Khreshchatyk Street and carrying it toward city hall where it is being used to forify barricades near the building. -- Jakub Parusinski

Security on Maidan ready for night of vigilance

Dec. 8, 7:45 p.m. Thousands remain on Independence Square, while hundreds of activists stand guard at different points of the perimeter. They say they are protecting the rally from so-called provocateurs or hired thugs and are on the lookout for drunken people. 

“Today there were almost no provocations, a few drunken people, but we will closely watch the square at night,” says Mykhailo Zhmurkevych, a student from Ivano-Frankivsk in western Ukraine. 

He added that a “surveillance group” has been organized numbering around 800 to stand guard to prevent any attacks like to one that happened on Nov. 30 when police used violently excessive force to disperse a small crowd on the square. 

He said they will stand guard around the clock. 

The overall atmosphere is, however, festive with protesters seen singing and dancing. – Anastasiya Forina

Protest dispersed by police in Dnipropetrovsk

Dec. 8, 6.45p. m.  Protests in Dnipropetrovsk's European Square, which by 4 p.m. drew up to 7,000 people, have been peacefully dispersed by local police. In contrast to the intimidating behavior of local police in the last few weeks, police were accepting flowers, flags and hugs from protesters. Small groups of protesters remain; as does a festive atmosphere. Shouts of "East and West
together." - Richard Martyn-Hemphill

Lenin statue in Kyiv taken down by radical protesters


Dec. 8, 6:15 p.m. A monument to Vladimir Lenin that stood on Kyiv's Shevchenko Blvd. was taken down 6 p.m. by a group of radical protesters using a steel wire rope. The group then decapitated the statue, chanting "Yanukovych is next!" and singing the Urkainian national anthem. Now they are breaking it into pieces using a sledgehammer. -- Christopher J. Miller, Oksana Grytsenko, Jakub Parusinski, Mark Rachkevych


Part of main Interior Ministry building barricaded

Dec. 8, 5:45 p.m. Approximately 100 people professionally erected a barricade on the corner of Shovkovychna and Bohomoltsya Streets near the main Interior Ministry building. Garbage cans, benches, debris and three old military tents surrounded by three lines of barbed wire were placed there. – Vlad Lavrov

Ashton  set to come to Kyiv next week 

Dec. 8, 5:16 p.m President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barosso spoke to President Viktor Yanukovych on the phone today. This is the statement released by his office after the conversation took place: 

"President Barroso spoke with President Yanukovych on the phone to reiterate the need for a political solution to the current tensions, through dialogue with the opposition and civil society.

He recalled the need to respect civil freedoms and to exert maximum restraint.

He announced that the High Representative/Vice-President, Cathy Ashton, would travel to Kiev this week to support a way out of the political crisis.

President Barroso also recalled the EU's position of signing the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area once the conditions are met." --Katya Gorchinskaya

Opposition warns of possible curfew

Dec. 8, 5:05 p.m The National Headquarters of Resistance, a coordination center of strikes, said they received reliable intelligence from the Dec. 6 meeting in Sochi between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Viktor Yanukovych, and are worried that curfew will be introduced in Ukraine.

“As a condition for providing aid to the Yanukovych regime, the Kremlin introduced the condition of “bringing order to Ukraine,” which means introduction of a state of emergency and cruel suppression of mass protest actions,” their statement said. --Katya Gorchinskaya

Three tents set up by the Cabinet

Dec. 8, 4:21 p.m. Three green tents are already up at Hrushevsky Street by the Cabinet building. The liner says "Shelter liner NBC 24*18', suggesting it's made in USA. --Vlad Lavrov

Red and black arm-banded protesters clear way for truck with supplies near Marinsky Park

Dec. 8, 4:15 p.m. At around 3:45 p.m. a group of 100 helmet wearing men with red and black arm bands cleared police cars and a vehicle with who appeared to be Party of Regions lawmaker Mykhailo Chechetov near Marinsky Park on the side where Arsenalna metro station is to make a path for a truck carrying supplies. – Jakub Parusinski

Red and black nationalist banner going up on Cabinet flag pole

Dec. 8, 4:10 p.m. A protester is seen putting up a red and black banner on the flag pole in front of the Cabinet building, taping it half way to the top. – Vlad Lavrov

Police block upper end of Cabinet building

Dec. 8, 4:02 p.m. The area from the upper end of the Cabinet building all the way to Kyiv Hotel is blocked by police and their buses. The pro-government rally is inside that area, virtually inaccessible. – Vlad Lavrov

Two sides of Cabinet building barricaded

Dec. 8, 3: 40 p.m. Protesters are placing a barricade at the lower-end entrance of the Cabinet of Ministers building. Hrushevskoho Street, on the main entrance side, is already blocked with pieces of metal fence, logs and debris. Tents have arrived. A few men are drumming metal fuel barrels to boost the morale of around 1,000 protesters here. – Vlad Lavrov

Trickle of protesters start leaving Maidan

Dec. 8, 3: 25 p.m. Pockets of protesters were seen leaving the main rally on Independence Square. The city’s cafes are starting to fill up with people coming in to warm up, eat some food and drink. Dressed in warm sweaters, they are clearly protesters. – Katya Gorchinskaya

Yatseniuk: If Yanukovych orders crackdown, it will be disastrous for president

Dec. 8, 3:21 p.m. Leading opposition leader Arseniy Yatseniuk said near the entrance of the Cabinet of Ministers building that if “this president (Viktor Yanukovych) orders a crackdown on peaceful protests, it will be disastrous for his presidency.” –  Oksana Grytsenko

Regions party protester: ‘Many radicals on Maidan’

Dec. 8, 3:10 p.m. The Kyiv Post spoke with a Party of Regions supporter in Marisnky Park across the Cabinet building.

“Personally, I’m for justice…I was on the Maidan last Sunday (on Dec. 1), but things that are happening there are disgusting, a lot radicals and provocateurs…Are we provoking anyone?” said Oleksandr Lozansky. “I think Ukraine should develop by itself first.” – Anastasia Forina

Police: 50,000 protesters in central Kyiv, 5,000 law enforcement personnel

Dec. 8, 3 p.m. As of 2 p.m. the interior ministry says thee are some 50,000 protesters in central Kyiv with 5,000 law enforcement personnel deployed in the area. However, Batkivshchyna Party says there is close to 1 million people, while news reports put the numbers above 100,000. -- Mark Rachkevych

Border of Maidan expanded to Cabinet building

Dec. 8, 2:50 p.m. Member of Parliament Andriy Shevchenko has tweeted that protesters have “peacefully blocked off Hrushevskoho Street (where the Cabinet of Ministers building is) and Kriposniy Provulok (a perpendicular street that runs into Marinsky Park beyond the building). Now this is the southern border of the Maidan.”

Several hundred riot police, meanwhile, are gathering around Marinsky Park across from the Cabinet building and entrance to the street leading down to the government building. – Jakub Parusinski, Mark Rachkevych

Tiahnybok by Bankova urges people to avoid violence

Dec. 8, 2:47 p.m. Protesters divided into several columns and marched Kyiv's central streets, led by opposition leaders who rode on minivans with Batkivshchyna logos. Thousands are now on Luteranska Street, right next to the president's administration. Oleh Tiahnybok, leader of Svoboda, is also there, calling on people to come but avoid violence. “We're going to block here, not fight,” he said. --Oksana Grytsenko

Update from Institutska Street, Batkyvshchyna van parked between two groups of protesters

Dec. 8, 2:40 p.m. A Batkivshchyna van pulled in to act as an extra buffer between a group of several hundred Party of Regions protesters and what appears to be 1,000 nationalists dressed in protective gear and “fighter” stickers on. They have red and black "Tryzub" armbands on. About 100 riot police also stand between them. – Christopher J. Miller

Dec. 8, 2:36 p.m. Hundreds of people came to a rally in support of Kyiv's EuroMaidan across the nation. Protesters came carrying Ukrainian flags and other symbols. Many cities in Ukraine and the world are hosting protests for Ukrainian European future.

EuroMaidan has an 'Epic swarm"

Dec. 8, 2:33 p.m. There is an "Epic Swarm" on EuroMaidan, says Foursquare. More than 1,000 people checked in through this service in the same location, allowing it to receive the special status. Media estimates of the crowd is over 100,000, though. 

Several thousand reach Cabinet building, set up tents

Dec. 8, 2:30 p.m. Several thousand protesters have set up tents to block entry inside the Cabinet of Ministers building. They are demanding that the government’s resignation and persecution of police who beat protesters on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 within 48 hours. On the other side near Marinsky Park, some 400-500 athletically built men stand, believed to be hired thugs. The streets leading to the Cabinet building from Institutska Street are blocked by police. – Vlad Lavrov, Jakub Parusinksi

Party of Regions supporters face columns of nationalists

Dec. 8, 2:24 p.m. Several hundred Party of Regions near the main Building of Officers near Marinsky Park face at least twice as many young men in red and black nationalist arm bands led by a stout person with a red and black handheld transceiver who won’t identify himself. The men dressed in nationalist colors have helmets and masks on with stickers attached that say, “fighter.”

Both sides are chanting slogans at each other.

Only about 30 regular policemen stand between the two groups, but were quickly reinforced by at least 100 riot police dressed in full gear. The Party of Regions crowd has many elderly people in it. The situation is tense and is growing in hostility between the groups. – Christopher J. Miller.

Yatseniuk says Ukrainians stand on EuroMaidan for values

Dec. 8, 2:15 p.m. Speaking from the stage, Batkivshchyna faction leader Arseniy Yatseniuk said that EuroMaidan's strength is in said standing up for values.

“These people did not come out for money, they did not come out for pensions, they did not come out for salaries, the Ukrainians came out for idea. The Ukrainians came out for values,” he said. --Katya Gorchinskaya

Turchynov urges protesters to set up tents in the government block

Dec. 8, 2:14  p.m. Oleksandr Turchynov called on 60,000 people to go to the government block and set up tents by the Cabinet on Hryshevsky Street and another one on Instytutska, the street adjoining Bankova where the president's office is located. “The mobile group will set up a tent in the middle of the government block,” Turchynov said. He called on two columns of 30,000 people to walk towards the government block. --Katya Gorchinskaya

Several hundred Party of Regions supporters stand further uphill from Presidential Administration building

Dec. 8, 2:09 p.m. The Kyiv Post has caught up with a few hundred of Party of Regions supporters on the corner of Institutska and Lipska Streets. There are a number of buses nearby that appear to have transported the party supporters. –Christopher J. Miller

400 start marching toward Presidential Administration building

Dec. 8, 2:04 p.m. Four hundred men in red and black arm bands with masks and helmets on have started to march toward the Presidential Administration building. – Christopher J. Miller

Bankova Street is livening up near Presidential Administration

Dec. 8, 1:55 p.m. From Khreshchatyk Street about 100 people are walking towards Bankova Street, some of them are masked. They are dressed in sports clothes and are not looking friendly. They are not answering questions about where they are going.

An additional 400 or more young men in masks with red and black arm bands, look like they’re ready for battle. They are equipped with elbow pads, helmets and other augmented attire. They refuse to say who is giving them orders, where they are going but are standing on Institutska Street right near the intersection with Bankova Street where the Presidential Administration is. Their backs are to the street. 

There are many police officers on Luteranka Street, right next to the presidents administration. Some of them wear gas masks. There are at least 200 of them that are visible. there are buses blocking the president's administration building. There are a few protesters there, too. --Yuriy Onyshkiv, Christopher J. Miller

4,000 people gather in Dnipropetrovsk for a rally

Dec. 8, 1:40 p.m.  A crowd of over 4,000 people is marching down Karl Marx prospect, Dnipropetrovsk's main street, in support of the EuroMaidan protests in Kyiv. The march started in Globa Park and is heading towards European Square. Chants of "Yanukovych — impeachment!" and "Bandits be gone!" This is widely believed to be the largest public protest in Dnipropetrovsk since the Orange Revolution in 2004.  --Richard Martyn-Hemphill

Interior Ministry warns not to call for takeovers of government buildings

Dec. 8, 1:42 p.m. Interior Ministry called on the opposition, in particular Serhiy Pashinskiy of Batkivshchyna, to stop urging people to seize government buildings. In its statement, the ministry said that by 1 p.m. about 200 people in the city center were getting equipped with masks, gas can, sticks, and Molotov cocktails and are planning to move towards the president's administration and the Cabinet buildings. They remain heavily guarded by the police.

“Interior Ministry reminds about criminal responsibility for this type of actions and urges not to instigate citizens to commit crimes,” the police said in a statement. --Katya Gorchinskaya

Klitschko calls for pre-term presidential and parliamentary elections

Dec. 8, 1:36 p.m. Leading opposition leader Vitali Klitschko called for new elections to parliament and the presidency while speaking to a crowd of protesters on Independence Square.

He also called for justice to be brought to those beat protesters on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 when police were recorded using excessive and violent force to disperse crowds.

“We are making a step forward toward victory,” said Klitschko. “We must protect everyone’s civil rights.”

He continued: “Nobody with truncheons can shut our mouths…For 22 years they promised us to change the system and that we will live better, but nothing ever happens. How many years have they told us this, that we’ll become a European country…but they lie. Now is the decisive moment, all of Ukraine is gathered hear because we’re tired of corruption…We must do everything so that this government ceases to exist.” – Mark Rachkevych

Russians in the crowd are 'fascinated' by EuroMaidan

Dec. 8, 1:29 p.m. Tatiana Garlitskaya, 50, is a technologist from Russia. She came to Kyiv to visit friends, and says she was fascinated by the rally ehre. She is now on EuroMaidan holding a poster that reads "Krasnodar is with EuroMaidan." Our people are supporting you and feeling sorry that such things are impossible in our country," the says. -- Oksana Grytsenko

Police blocks government buildings

Dec. 8, 1:15 p.m. Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported that police has blocked several streets near the buildings of President's Administration and Cabinet of Ministers, including Sadova, Shovkovychna and Lipska streets. The streets are blocked with police buses. Some of the buses are connected with cables. -- Interfax-Ukraine

Hundreds gather, rehearse for march toward Presidential Administration building

Dec. 8, 1:13 p.m. Two groups, one numbered in the hundreds with hardhats and mouth masks on, another estimated to be in the thousands led by the UDAR party, are gathering on Institutska Street to presumably march toward the Presidential Administration building. One protester said they will march into a “bright future.”

The group of hardhat protesters is peaceful and is rehearsing by locking arms and hands and standing in tight formations. Thousands are walking around the other group with UDAR and Batkivshchyna politicians on Institutska Street as well. – Jakub Parusinski

Foreign visitors take part in EuroMaidan

Dec. 8, 1 p.m. EuroMaidan has some foriegn visitors. A group of UK citizens waving their country's flags was headed to Maidan this morning. "We are here to show that Britain supports Ukrainian people, to show it's time for change. We think it's fantastically impressive what Ukrainian people are doing," says Dave Young. -- Anastasiya Forina

Radio Svoboda website under DDoS attack

Dec. 8, 12:54 p.m. As today's EuroMaidan protest got underway, Radio Svoboda, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Ukrainian language service, said via Twitter that it's website was under a Distributed Denial of Service attack.

"On our website has been a DDoS-attack. All information published by memo on social networks. We're sorry," reads the news outlet's message on Twitter.

Until the news site is back up, Radio Svoboda will publish news on its Facebook timeline and Twitter page. -- Christopher J. Miller

Organizers list most needed donations from public

Dec. 8, 12:40 p.m. The following is what EuroMaidan organizers say is needed most and delivered to the main Trade Union building near Independence Square:

Hard hats

A-95 gasoline (petrol)

Firewood

Electric space heaters

Foam insulation

Winter hats

Gloves

Blankets

Warm footwear (sizes 41-45)

Instant soup

Cold cuts for sandwiches

Bread

Potable water

Prepared hot food

Fruits, vegetables

Coffee

Prepaid mobile phone cards of all brands

–      Mark Rachkevych

Twenty EuroMaidan protests held throughout world

Dec. 8, 12:26 p.m. Cities in North America and Europe, including Chicago, New York, Toronto, Vienna, Rome and Paris will stage EuroMaidan protests in solidarity with larger demonstrations taking place in Kyiv, reports Vida, the main Ukrainian diaspora media portal.

Some 20 cities altogether have planned protests. Some cities like New York will broadcast their demonstration live on the internet, while Vancouver in Canada will record a video message to be broadcast  on Kyiv’s Independence Square. – Mark Rachkevych

Top cop admits use of excessive force, calls for demonstrators to remain peaceful

Dec. 8, noon The nation’s top cop Vitaliy Zakharchenko admitted on the interior ministry’s website today that “certain interior ministry personnel used excessive force” during protests last week.

He also called on the public to peacefully protest and urged everyone to keep dialogue open with the authorities, including opposition politicians, journalists, members of parliament and members of civil society “to find a civilized solution to the situation.”

As an example of cooperation he noted that Afghan War veterans have joined the police to conduct joint patrols on the streets of Kyiv where large groups of people have been spotted and to identify elements of the public bent on disrupting peaceful gatherings or cause public disorder. – Mark Rachkevych

Party of Regions gets an alternative rally going

Dec. 8, 11: 55 a.m. AThe Party of Regions is holding its own rally in Mariyinskiy Park in Kyiv. There are several thousand people taking part in it, including people from other regions, Interfax-Ukraine reports. In their speeches, they support the president's course, appeal for a peaceful solution of the political gridlock and condemn the leaders of the opposition whose actions are splintering the society, according to the speakers. --Katya Gorchinskaya

5,000 people were on EuroMaidan by 11 a.m.

Dec. 8, 11 a.m. As of 11 o'clock, there were 5,000 people out on Maidan Nezalezhnosti and Khreshchatyk Street, according to the Interior Ministry. --Katya Gorchinskaya

Diversity of crowd on Independence Square

Dec. 8, 11:45  a.m. The Kyiv Post noticed Ukrainian national flags with the cities of Yalta in Crimea, Odesa in the south, Kharkiv in the east and Beregovo in the west written on them where some 3,000 protesters were gathered. People were eating breakfast from outdoor food kitchens, mulling around while Ukrainian songs blared from the central stage.

Organizers have called on a million people to descend on Kyiv to demand the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych and the government of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov. There are reports on Twitter of Kyiv’s metro trains being packed with people already on the outer stops that are heading toward the center.

There was a light police present on Khreschatyk Street. Four rows of cars line the street up to Khmelnytskoho Street. Four policemen were seen guarding the Lenin statue on Shevchenko Boulevard, the site last week where protesters nearly succeeded taking down the controversial figures statue. --Mark Rachkevych

San Francisco to get its own EuroMaidan on Dec. 8

Dec. 8, 9:42 a.m. San Francisco  will get its own EuroMaidan today, to express support to the main EuroMaidan in Ukraine.  Organizers expect 300-500 participants from San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento and say similar efforts are taking place in other states and towns of the USA. --Katya Gorchinskaya

EuroMaidan organizers pin hopes on march of a million

Dec. 8, 9:20 a.m. EuroMaidan rally organizers, including opposition leaders, hope momentum will shift in their favor today with another mass demonstration planned for noon at Independence Square. Publicized as the "march of a million," they hope that a rally larger than the one on Dec. 1 will pressure President Viktor Yanukovuch to consider and act on their demand to fire Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his government. 

News of an unscheduled meeting in Sochi between Yanukovych and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in which they discussed closer trade and economic cooperation on Dec. 6 has only incited more anger among protesters here. Thousands were already on the city center square early this morning where the mass rally will take place at noon. -- Christopher J. Miller

SEE KYIV POST COVERAGE OF THE NOV. 30 POLICE CRACKDOWN ON EUROMAIDAN HERE:

Interior minister justifies police attacks to EU, US ambassadors

Back to the Middle Ages on the way to Europe: Beaten Kyiv protesters take refuge in church yard

Yanukovych says police beatings not his fault

Kyiv police chief admits ordering attack on EuroMaidan protesters

Opposition under fire for failure to protect protesters

Vox Populi with Daryna Shevchenko: How should the nation react to police violence against protesters?

Victims describe excessive, indiscriminate attacks

Lyovochkin, Yanukovych's chief of staff, resigns

Police say protesters provoked violence

Police attack on Kyiv's EuroMaidan demonstrators draws international outrage

Police were 'like a machine cleaning the street,' says a beating victim

More than 100,000 people petition Obama for sanctions against Yanukovych

Police violently break up Independence Square protests at 4 a.m. today; many injuries reported

SEE OTHER KYIV POST EUROMAIDAN COVERAGE HERE: 

EuroMaidan rallies on Nov. 29: EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine

EuroMaidan rallies on Nov. 28: EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine

EuroMaidan rallies on Nov. 27: EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine

EuroMaidan rallies on Nov. 26: 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"

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