The Tent City
The Tent City
The air is filled with smoke, the smell of lard and buckwheat, rock-n-roll and folklore music and the sounds of dancing. Ukrainian national anthem is played several times per day. Prayers and the divine services, slogan of glory to Ukraine, glory to its heroes. This is the Euro Maidan, the tent city in the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv. Kyiv’s Maidan has been the scene of pro-European protests for more than a month, triggered by President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to ditch a key deal with the European Union.
At the beginning there was a student demonstration. On November 30, 2013 the riot police brutally attacked the demonstrators. The violent dispersal of student-protesters ignited the public's ire. The next day, hundreds of thousands descended on central Kyiv in a show of protest over the police beatings. An encampment and barricades were erected, and three public buildings were taken over, including city hall.
At the end of December, pro-European protest tent “city” remains still barricaded on Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti) and adjacent streets. Life in the tent city (Euro Maidan) resembles a normal city life with cafeterias, medical centers and second-hand winter clothes “boutiques”. Entertainment is provided round the clock from a massive stage. Everything from chess games to accordions and guitars are being played in front of individual. Every tent has a stove and wood is brought regularly. Supporters and sympathizers of pro-EU bring food, cigarettes, coffee and tea. Even table tennis has emerged. Pro-EU activists and supporters are ready to be on the Maidan until Yanukovich’s government is defeated.
Since November 21 hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have taken to the streets of Kiev to demand that the EU deal be signed. Protesters camped in Maidan Nezalezhnosti since 1 December 2013 have renamed it Euro Maidan. This place has become the focal point for and enduring protest moment against the government of Viktor Yanukovich.