Ukraine Protests Against Corrupt Government
Since the advent of the year 2014, we have witnessed shocking and unwanted news from Ukraine's capital, Kiev.
With hundreds of people injured, a few dead and smoke from burning cars and buildings covering the Kiev airspace, Ukraine has shown every sign of advancing to a bloodshed civil war. Unless you've followed the entire horde event by event, it's difficult to understand what provoked the people to fight against their own government.
We'll discuss the key points of the protest here.
Reasons for the protests :
The first signs of the Ukrainian protest surfaced in late November, after the President Viktor Yanukovych decided to withdraw from an agreement with the European Union. People feel this agreement would have paved the way for Ukraine to join the European Union.
Pre-November talks suggested an agreement could be expected in near future, but the Ukrainian President added to the woes of the people by pulling off the disappointment out of nowhere.According to the protestors, the steps taken by the government would make the ordinary man align towards EU even more and strengthen the widespread sentiment that Viktor Yanukovych continues to support the interests of the richest.
This step was followed by severe and continued protests from students and common people against the then existing government.
As an obvious reaction, President Viktor Yanukovych passed a law which bans protests from taking place without the government's permission and threatens those who disobey with ten years in prison. Fines were imposed for wearing masks or helmets to demonstrations. Driving bans were imposed for convoys of more than 5 cars. Restrictions were imposed on internet media and amplifiers were banned from public places.
People feel the government is trying every possible way to revoke their rights and suppress the truth behind the corrupt government. Started as a pro-EU movement, this agitation has developed into bloody riots, fueled by anti-government feelings. Activists have taken up a larger cause at hand, the fight against corruption. Demonstrators demand the immediate resignation of the the Prime Minister, Interior Minister and the President Viktor Yanukovych.
Do you think the Ukraine agitation is justified ?
Who's leading the opposition ?
The former heavyweight boxing champion, Vital Klitschko is one of the three prominent opposition leaders who are strongly in favor of the EU agreement. The other two leaders include Oleh Tyahnybok, and Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who belong to the jailed Prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko's Batkivshchyna Party.
Speculations suggest that Klitschko is one of most probable leaders, if the current government is overthrown. He is expected to steer the country out of the political turmoil Ukraine is facing now. But things are certain to get worse before they get better.
Why the flames and smoke ?
Since November 2013, agitations emerged and have taken a rather serious turn. Burning tires separate the police and the protestors. The protestors include the radical nationalists, who have been seen throwing Molotov cocktails and petrol bombs at the police. A few protestors had been killed initially, but the police deny responsibility. A third activist has been found dead in a forest outside Kiev, reportedly showing signs of torture. A 17-year-old student told the BBC he was stripped naked by police, beaten, slashed with knives and cut across his anus. He was eventually taken to hospital. The ministry was forced to apologize for a leaked video of the police torturing and humiliating a protestor by making him walk naked on the snow. Allegations of torture were raised by Ukrainian MP Irena Seh.
Role of Berkut :
Berkut refers to the special unit of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine responsible for crowd control. Naturally, the responsibility of containing the agitation in November moved into the hands of the Berkut. But they have resorted to rather inhuman and brutal behavior to control the crowd. TV stations and activists have openly protested against the use of such abusive behavior. Amnesty International has called for an investigation in the matter.
The Maidan Nezalezhnosti is the center for the Ukrainian agitation. It has long been the center for the protests. The 'automaidan' is the place where motorized vehicles are stopped by supporters in circles, forming a barricade.
Response of neighboring countries
The riots have spread far beyond the Ukrainian borders, with mixed emotions from various nations. People have questioned the integrity and the balance of a democratic country. Emergency sessions have been called for in the Parliament, but of no substantial use. The protestors don't seem to settle for anything less than the dissolution of the current government. Meanwhile, the government continues its friendly ties with the Russians and Putin, as usual, is the center of this unethical indulgence. Polish Prime Minister has also expressed his concern over the current situation and has clearly presented Poland as a staunch supporter of the movement.
The location of the most disastrous agitation Ukraine has seen in the last few decades.