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“As an ordinary student in Kiev, I cannot keep calm. We seek justice, common sense and democracy”

By Mariia, Kiev  *

As an ordinary student in Kiev, I just can’t keep calm.

Many words have already been said about the current situation in Ukraine but unfortunately after two months of unrest, nothing has improved.

The unrest we are witnessing started on November 21, 2013 when the government of Ukraine decided to suspend preparations for signing an Association Agreement with the European Union. This infuriated thousands of people as they took to the city centre to protest.

Many students joined the demonstrations to support the idea of Ukrainian prosperity. Since that time, whatever our government has done has been against its people.

We remember November 30, when students together with other protesters were violently beaten during the night by the special police units  known as “Berkut”.

We also remember December 11, when co-ordinated internal troops together with “Berkut” tried to clear out the city centre.

No one has been punished or dismissed from power for these actions.

People started to become angry as their demands for justice were not being met. This culminated in the people of Kiev gathering every Sunday at 12.00 pm for veche (mass protest) called by the opposition leaders (Klitschko, Tyagnybok and Yatsenyuk).

During the last 60 days, the authorities have done nothing to change or improve the situation; they have given false promises in an attempt to keep peace and find a democratic approach to solve the situation.

Latest events

The government’s next step was the adoption of anti-protest laws on January 16, which criminalized all of the Euromaidan opposition’s methods employed during the protests. The laws introduced 10-year jail terms for blockading government buildings; hefty fines and prison terms for protesters who cover their face and head (with helmets and masks); fines and prison terms for unauthorised installation of tents and stages in public places; issuing bans for people driving in rows of more than five cars. Such laws limit people’s freedom and rights and basically allow our politicians to continue the fraud they are conducting now.

On January 19, during the ninth veche, around 200,000 people came to protest against  these unconstitutional laws and demand the opposition announce the name of a single opposition leader. Opposition leaders said that a new alternative parliament is going to be created.

Clashes started as thousands descended upon parliament on Hruschevskogo Street and were met by police cordons together with buses and military vehicles that would not let protesters break through. The protests escalated into riots and clashes with police erupted.

Since then, the situation has intensified. In two days (21-22 January) over 30 medical workers were shot and beaten, over 70 journalists injured  over 500 protesters injured, over 50 activists kidnapped and five people have been killed. I don’t know who stands behind it all, who gives orders to go against people and spread lies. However, the president Viktor Yanukovych has created the political system and environment in which such scenario is acceptable.

On January 22, opposition leaders presented Viktor Yanukovych a 24-hour window to give in to demands. Vitali Klitschko warned the government that protesters would go on the offensive if their demands were not met by the end of the day.

On January 23, opposition leader Klitscko reached an agreement with enforcers on suspending any action until the evening, when the results of talks between the opposition and the president are announced.

We are still waiting for the outcome of these negotiations, hoping that justice exists and common sense together with the democratic approach will help us to find the right way out of this situation.

*Mariia did not want her last name to be published.

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