Protesters in Kiev toppled a statue of Lenin as the pro-Europe, anti-Russia demonstrations in Ukraine entered into their third week.
Sh*t hit the fan several weeks ago when the Ukrainian government did a 180 and pulled out of a proposed deal to strengthen ties with the European Union. The Euro U-turn was followed by weeks of demonstrations against the government of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his decision to reject the European Union pact. President Viktor Yanukovych rejected the deal because he feared it would put trade with Russia at risk – and nobody likes an angry Putin. Ukraine also relies heavily on Russia for its energy supplies—and Russian gas supplier, Gazprom, says Ukraine has fallen behind on its payments.
Yanukovych was spotted on Saturday canoodling with Russian President Vladimir Putin, creating further speculation that Ukraine will agree to join a customs union with Russia. So far only Belarus and Kazakhstan have signed on – not exactly a winning team. Yanukovych’s willingness to form the customs union further angered the already angry protesters.
On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Kiev, blockading government buildings with cars, barricades and tents. During the demonstration, a group of protesters smashed the city’s statue of the Russian revolutionary leader Lenin. One man placed a noose round the Lenin’s neck and attached cables to the rope, pulling the giant statue down while protesters screamed “Hang the Commie!” The statue decapitated on impact and protesters gathered up its dismembered parts and brought them to Independence Square as trophies. Despite the freezing temperatures and snow, the protest continued into the night, prompting the government to send in busses full of riot police.
Riot police or not, the protests show no signs of stopping, so Yanukovych has agreed to hold talks involving the opposition this week to try and figure out a compromise. But protesters are demanding more. They have given Yanukovych 48 hours to dismiss the government, demanding new elections for the presidency and government. And after 48 hours they will… protest more? Are there any more Lenin statues to smash?
Via: BBC News