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"Revolution" Widens In Kiev

The biggest protests since the 2004 Orange Revolution aren't about just about Russia any more. "You're never going to be 'I'm besieging Yanukovych with flares on a tractor' cool."

Posted on December 1, 2013, at 7:13 p.m. ET

KIEV, Ukraine — Hundreds of thousands of people swarmed through the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on Sunday as a pro-European Union protest movement warped into an all-out battle to unseat President Viktor Yanukovych.

Pro-European Ukrainians are furious with Yanukovych for backing out of a deal with the EU in favor of closer economic ties with Russia.

The protests, which began last week, appeared to be dying down until riot police violently cleared a tent city on Kiev's Independence Square, known as the Maidan. This caption reads "Die, scumbag!"

Kiev had not seen crowds this large since 2004's Orange Revolution, when weeks of demonstrations on the Maidan cost Yanukovych the presidency.

Protesters defied a court order banning protests on the Maidan and thronged the square to hear speeches from opposition politicians.

Police simply ran away.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Some protesters scaled an artificial Christmas tree on the square and planted flags.

Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters

Others violently clashed with police outside the presidential administration building.

These guys came with their own bulldozer.

Many tried to storm past riot police.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Police and protesters used tear gas against one other.

Opposition leaders distanced themselves from the violence and said it had been carried out to discredit them.

Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters

In the evening, several dozen tents went up on the Maidan. Ads on the Jumbotron were replaced by an EU flag. Protesters heard speeches and danced through the evening.

Several hundred more protesters occupied City Hall down the street and camped out there overnight.

Stoyan Nenov / Reuters

Inside City Hall. Protesters sleeping, handing out food, wandering around. Anarchy in its purest form #Євромайдан

max seddon

@maxseddon

Inside City Hall. Protesters sleeping, handing out food, wandering around. Anarchy in its purest form #Євромайдан

/ Via

This graffiti outside renames it "Revolution HQ."

The dream: a westward turn and entry into the European Union, something Kiev's young protesters can get excited about.

Large crowds took to the streets in other cities, such as Lviv:

And Ivano-Frankivsk:

The wild scenes, unthinkable since the Orange Revolution, provoked their fair share of memes.

Via Twitter: @mudakoff

This caption reads, "Gotham / Kiev."

"Vitya," Russian President Vladimir Putin says, "two things." "What?" replies Yanukovych. "1. Great job breaking up #EuroMaidan," the hashtag for the protest, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says. "2. Ukraine's not Russia, you're fucked."

"You might be cool," this caption reads, "but you're never going to be 'I'm besieging Yanukovich with flares on a tractor' cool."

Opposition leaders are calling for a general strike and insist they want protests to be peaceful.

But the word on everyone's lips here is "revolution."

Graffiti on a skip in #euromaidan Kiev

max seddon

@maxseddon

Graffiti on a skip in #euromaidan Kiev

/ Via
  • Picture of Max Seddon

    Max Seddon is a correspondent for BuzzFeed World based in Berlin. He has reported from Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and across the ex-Soviet Union and Europe. His secure PGP fingerprint is 6642 80FB 4059 E3F7 BEBE 94A5 242A E424 92E0 7B71

    Contact Max Seddon at max.seddon@buzzfeed.com.

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A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.

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