Protesters set ablaze the Independence square in Ukraine by creating a protective ring of fire around their encampment as a final act of resistance against authorities. Initial death toll was disclosed to be around 9 dead which included 2 police officers. It is feared that the actual figure might be higher than the one stated.
Ukraine fell into a state of turmoil in 2010 when Viktor F. Yanukovych was appointed president of the country. Even though he was elected through a democratic system the general public demands that he be removed. Many believed him to be corrupt and authoritarian and hence protested against him. Demonstrations against him have been going on for quite some time but neither side seems to be giving in. Protesters continue to demand that President Yanukovych curb his presidential power while the parliament remains adamant in their decision to not give into pressure.
Law enforcement agencies had to use force to subdue the protesters as doctors and nurses tending to the wounded revealed that patients suffered multiple gunshot wounds. There was even evidence that police had used percussion grenades to better control the situation if not to inflict much serious damage. The demonstrations were initially peaceful attempts to negotiate terms between the parliament and the protesters but since then have taken a much horrid form. The fire set ablaze in Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine by protesters engulfed nearby buildings before it went out of control. A once peaceful city now became a battle zone with occasional rounds of gunfire, grenades and the air polluted by a thick coat of smoke. Transportation to and from the city was temporarily closed in an attempt to limit the damage. Authorities reported that they would shut down the subway and limit traffic in order to control access into the city.
It is not clear what repercussions it will have on the country or how the parliament will react to it. President Yanukovych however is convinced not to utilize excess force as that would help to only aggravate the situation. As Rihat Akhmetov stated that there is not even a single possible situation that justifies the use of violence on such a peaceful population. Yanukovych’s decision to opt out of violence as a solution was backed up by spokesman of the White House Jay Carney who stated that force is never the solution to solve a crisis. President Yanukovych after meeting Russian President Vladimir V. Putin however changed his mind regarding his approach to the entire situation. How the government resolves the problem remains to be seen.
Certain protesters claimed that they were aware of the damage their actions did and the impact it had but remained determined to continue if their actions reaped results. Opposition leaders made sure that the protesters did not lose their resolve as they continuously urged them to remain strong through their “motivational” defiant speeches.
Many believe that common grounds have to be established and that the riots must end or the results will be disastrous. For now only a city has been set ablaze as a form of resistance by protesters, yet according to some if the situation is not resolved, Ukraine as a country might suffer.
By Hammad Ali