RIOTS IN DOWNTOWN KYIV – ongoing updates.
Earlier today, large groups of Maidan activists walked in a procession to the Verkhovna Rada [Parliament], demanding reinstatement of the 2004 version of the Ukrainian Constitution. The area was surrounded by law enforcement. The situation escalated fast. A dozen people reported dead, hundreds injured. After numerous clashes, the protesters retreated to Maidan [Independence Square], followed by law enforcers.
An attack was made on the protesters’ camp, many of the barricades were lost. The protesters are now gathered in the heart of the camp, protecting themselves from the next attacks by walls of fire. The government threatens to treat everyone who does not leave downtown Kyiv by midnight as a terrorist. Access to the city is being restricted.
More photographs of today’s events by REUTERS:
An armored police vehicle appears at the foot of the Instytutska barricade. Troops are cheering like mad. One of them shouts, “Just give us the f-ing order!”
Barricades being dismantled at Hrushevskiy Street.
19:30 – THE GOVERNMENT IMPOSES A DE FACTO STATE OF EMERGENCY
The press service of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine announced that traffic towards Kyiv, starting from midnight on 19.02 (in a few hours of this notice) will be restricted.
Kyiv City Head Volodymyr Makeyenko asked Kyivans and guests of the city to avoid going into the downtown.
19:41 – ‘Anti-Terrorist Operation’?
Announcements from police through megaphones: women and children have to leave Maidan, because an anti-terrorist operation is going to start there.
The government’s view of today’s events as terrorism is further confirmed by an earlier instruction to the Kyiv Metropoliten [Subway] ordering to close all subway stations until further notice in view of a threat of a terrorist act.
At 20.00, a water cannon arrived.
20:03 – Attack from the side of European Square and Hrushevskiy Street
[screencaps from livestreams]
Prayers are said from the Maidan stage. Police keeps telling women and children to leave Maidan. Water cannon operators are being blinded with lasers.
One of the water cannons ran out of water.
Espresso TV: Kalashnikovs and light machine guns were distributed to policemen.
20:36 – Channel 5 Blocked Throughout Ukraine
Channel 5, which has been covering the protests since the beginning, has been excluded from analog broadcasting throughout Ukraine and is now only available online.
20:42 – “We’re Not Going Anywhere!”
Speakers at the Maidan stage keep asking Berkut [riot police] to come to their own senses. Arseniy Yatsenyuk is calling Berkut to fall back by 200 m and declare a truce until morning. Vitaliy Klitschko announces from the stage – “We’re not going anywhere!”