Yesterday, there were fireworks and catapults with flaming bricks, as uprising citizens in Ukraine’s “protest zone” were being mass texted: “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.” Today, the photos and videos coming through social media directly from the front lines have lost any touch of cinematic dystopia. It’s simply war. People are dying.
The protest began two months ago when Ukrainian government turned down a landmark EU treaty in favor of deals with the Russian government. The protests intensified this weekend, when Kiev made protesting illegal and attempted to subdue journalist activity. We’ve been following several accounts and localized media outlets. The police have also progressed from stun grenades and rubber bullets to Molotov cocktails and live ammunition. So far, at least four have been shot to death. Activists are being kidnapped off the street. One has been found dead in the woods.
This footage was shot by Polish journalist Pawel Bobolowicz for Radio Wnet, who has been, basically, in the trenches for several weeks, trampled by the riot cops on a regular basis. Bobolowicz uploaded the footage above afew hours ago. It’s horrifying. It begins with Bobolowicz running away from charging police, weaving between the cops and the protestors. At 0:39, he approaches several police officers viciously beating a fallen protestor with batons. He gets clubbed himself. He shouts “PRESS!” but they keep beating him, so he takes cover behind a car to narrate in Polish. There are some horrific screams. The beaten protestor lies on the ground for awhile, then is dragged away by the cops. At 1:47 you can see the police casually dragging another unconscious protestor away.
The cops are now swaggering, batons out. About hundred pass him. Sounds of people being beaten continue. At 5:00, there are more ground-shaking explosions. The cops retreat, shields out. They fire at the protestors but are pushed back. At 5:25, you can see them retreating in a row as protestors walk towards them carrying sticks and throwing stones, wearing construction hats, gas masks and helmets, plastic DIY shields and the shields dropped by the police. More explosions. Cheers, whistles, screams of pain. Someone is either really injured or there’s a child crying somewhere. At 6:49, a protestor is using some sort of home-made grenade launcher to launch fireworks at the cops.
Hundreds of protestors advance, clearly winning this particular strip of the street. From what I can tell, the Polish journalist says there are several very badly injured. At 14:53, a protestor in a mechanized wheelchair rides by. And all this, just on one block of the conflict.
There are reportedly up to 10,000 people in the conflict protest zone. The police has brought in an armored personnel carrier and plowed down the barricades set up by the protestors.
(Image: @Review _News_Net)
There are several journalists on the ground. Max Seddon arrives in Kiev tomorrow.
Bobolowicz shot this next footage on Sunday. You can see charred skeletal remains of buses and the horizon engulfed in flames as protestors waring various makeshift armor continue to protect the soon-to-be-destroyed barricades. You can also see several journalists, wearing bright orange vests with “PRESS” on them and construction-style protective helmets, weaving through the smoke as grenade explode around them, cameras out. It was only going to get worse from there on.
This is the scene two hours ago:
(Image: still, @Pawel Bobolowicz)