EuroMaidan Revolution remembered: Protesters and police clash at presidential administation

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Editor's Note: This is an occasional series from the newspaper's archives of the Kyiv Post's coverage of the EuroMaidan Revolution, the three-month uprising that ended with President Viktor Yanukovych fleeing power on Feb. 21-22, 2014.

After Kyiv’s District Administrative Court banned public protests in downtown Kyiv at both Maidan Nezalezhnosti and nearby European Square, protesters gathered at St. Michael’s Square on the hill above the Maidan, and then marched down to retake Kyiv’s main square from police control.

Police fled as the crowd, numbering hundreds of thousands, moved into the square and began tearing down crowd control barriers and constructing makeshift barricades. The nearby Kyiv City Hall and the Trades Union Building were occupied by the protesters.

The protesters then marched on the Cabinet of Ministers building on Hrushevskoho Street, up the hill from European Square. The building was heavily protected by lines of riot police and Berkut special police. Another large group of protesters streamed up Institutska Street from Maidan Nezalezhnosti to Bankova Streeet, the location of the Presidential Administration. Access to the presidential administration building was closed off by hundreds of riot police, but they themselves were surrounded by thousands of protesters.

At around 1400, some of the protesters commandeered a bulldozer from a nearby building site and attempted to storm the police line midway along Bankova. That attempt was halted after intervention by Ukrainian politicians, including then lawmaker Petro Poroshenko.

The standoff continued into the evening, with protesters surging into the police lines, hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails at police, and police responding with stun grenades and tear gas. After night fell, the Berkut riot police stormed forward, pushing back the protesters to the end of Bankovak Street, and severely beating anyone in their path, including journalists, some of whom filmed the violence.

As the violence escalated, Svoboda party leader Oleh Tyahnybok called for a “social and national revolution,” and opposition leader Yury Lutsenko said “Our plan is clear: this is not a rally, not an action. This is a revolution.”

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