Last update: 26 January 4:10AM GMT+2
KIEV – Protests on the Maidan in Kiev enter their seventh day with a surge of police and protester violence alike. After the death of two protesters on Thursday, tension is rising on the Maidan (Kiev’s Independence Square).
Numerous reports of police violence and protesters being sprayed with cold water are coming in via Twitter. The protesting crowds reply by pelting officers with stones and Molotov cocktails, Reuters reports.
Activists have been detained in the course of past few days. Over 500 people are rallying, demanding their release.
Around 11:30 GMT on Saturday protesters took over the Chernigov City Council building, demanding the resignation of its head, Vladimir Khormenko.
At 13:31 GMT it was announced that a protester, who took part in the Kiev protests, has passed away in the hospital, according to the state health department of the Kiev city administration.
Protesters have also threatened the Regional State Admin Poltova, unless State Admin Oleksandr Udovychenko agrees to negotiations.
Reports have emerged that protests and violence are now spreading beyond the capital. Protestors have stormed governor’s offices in Lviv, there have been reported rallies in at least five other towns in Western Ukraine.
President Viktor Yanukovych held crisis talks with three leaders of the protests. The outcome of these is unknown.
Protests on the Maidan have been occurring since late November when Yanukovych pulled out of a landmark treaty with the EU in favour of strengthening the country’s economic relations with Russia.
Protesters from Ukraine send out pledges for help using social media.
Updates from the protests can be followed under the hashtag #euromaidan
UPDATE 4:25AM GMT+2: Number of casualties for the last few days unknown
“I don’t have numbers. We know only official stats, but many people were hijacked, murdered and buried hidden. We can only guess how many … We’re finding dead bodies of protesters everyday,” said Yehwen Bobrov, a protester in Kiev, exclusively for The Global Panorama.
UPDATE 4:10AM GMT+2: Riot police have left Ukranian House. It remains mostly occupied by protesters.
UPDATE 3:45AM GMT+2: Crowds are in front of Ukranian House are dissipating. Police are still inside. (source)
- A protester got inside Ukranian House. Photo courtesy of Krzysiek Bukowski @KrzysBukowski, Twitter.com
UPDATE 3:00AM GMT+2: Reports say that there are Russian forces within the ‘Berkut’ (riot police)
UPDATE 2:30AM GMT+2: Lviv regional council withdraws “berkut” (riot police) from Kiev (source)
- Image courtesy of Krzysiek Bukowski @KrzysBukowski, Twitter.com
UPDATE 1:15AM GMT+2: Protesters storming Ukranian House
Military troops are trapped inside Ukranian House, which the protesting troops have been storming for nearly 2 hours. According to reports police forces are using tear gas and cold water to fight off protesters. Some have been injured.
A corridor has been made by protesters for military troops to leave the building. They have refused to use it.
- Protesters make a corridor for riot police to leave. Image courtesy of Krzysiek Bukowski @KrzysBukowski, Twitter.com
- According to reports ambulances are arriving at the scene. There have been injured in the clashes in front of Ukranian House.
UPDATE 11:30PM GMT+2: Protesters have surrounded Ukranian House, Kiev’s exhibiton hall, and are banging on windows, demanding on police to leave the building (source)
UPDATE 10:30PM GMT+2: Opposition leaders speak on the Maidan
Opposition leader Vitaliy Klitschko held a speech on the Maidan. In his words: “We have to hold presidential election during this year, we’re staying on #Euromaidan in Kyiv and in the regions.” (source) Opposition still demands early elections as well as demolition of anti-protest laws from 16 January.
Other opposition leader Poroshenko held a minute of silence to remember those who passed away in the protests the last couple of days. He asked for help from football fans, who support the protests.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk, in turn, has demanded Yuliya Timoshenko’s freedom and radical changes in the constitution.
UPDATE 10:00PM GMT+2: Opposition leaders refuse Yanukovych’s offer
Opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Vitaliy Klitschko have refused President Yanukovych’s offer of becoming Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.
UPDATE 8:30PM GMT+2: Militia in Ivano-Frankivsk, Rivne, and Vynnytsia have switched sides, joining Kiev protesters. (source)
Barricades in Kiev. Image courtesy of Peter Oliver, Twitter.com
UPDATE 8:00PM GMT+2: Victor Yanukovych offers PM post to opposition leader
President Viktor Yanukovych has offered the Prime Minister post to opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk, head of the “Batkivschina” (Fatherland) opposition party. This has been announced a few minutes ago by Minister of Justice Olena Lukas.
With this turn of events, the fate of the government lies entirely in the hands of the opposition and the civil unrest may cease in a matter of days.
It has also been stated that all citizens detained during protests will be set free.
Yanukovych has also suggested a revision of the country’s constitution.
Vitaliy Klitschko, another opposition leader, has been offered the post of Deputy Prime Minister.
UPDATE 5:30PM GMT+2: Protesters settle down
The Poltava administration has reported that at least 2,000 protesters have seized the building. A meeting with the chairman Aleksandr Udovychenko is currently underway in the session hall of the council.
Meanwhile, the violent clashes in the center of Kiev on Grushevskogo Street have stopped. Sources report it has been quiet for at least an hour.
UPDATE 4:56PM GMT+2: Six activists, arrested in Chernigiv, have been freed. (source)
President meeting with opposition leaders
President Victor Yanukovych, is currently in a meeting with opposition leaders: Vitaly Klitchko, head of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform party; Arseniy Yatsenyuk, head of the “Batkivschina” (Fatherland) opposition party, and Oleg Tyagnybok, the leader of the All-Ukrainian Union “Svoboda”(Freedom).
UPDATE 4:37PM GMT+2: Lviv/Lemberg under opposition control (source)
The Lvov national council has recognized the protester-established legislative organ Narodnaya Rada (People’s Council) which is said to represent the interests of Ukranian people. 70 members of council voted in favour. The mostly opposition-led council advises local authorities to follow the same example.
Due to the adoption of the anti-protest laws on January 16 the Lvov state council has announced that it withdraws all powers delegated to the Lvov region by state administration.
This is a breaking news story, please check back for updates.
Sasha Maksymenko, Flickr.com
Geoffrey Hulsens, Twitter.com
Peter Oliver, Twitter.com
Krzysiek Bukowski @KrzysBukowski, Twitter.com