Euromaidan, the persistent group of protesters occupying the Independence Square (Майдан Незалежности) in Kiev, has been protesting for three months now, and are still going strong. Although there has been news coverage about the fight as a whole, it is interesting to note that the opposition group consists of people from all sorts of backgrounds and in my opinion this is why the opposition has been so strong. The name Euromaidan stands for two things: Europe, which is what the opposition wants Ukraine to be integrated into, and maidan, meaning open place or square, which exactly matches the name of the street being used for ongoing protests.
Euromaidan is focused on bringing down a government deemed to be corrupt, so class, race, and gender differences have seemed to vanish because of a singularity of purpose existing for this group of protesters.
The group of protesters is made up of men and women- young and old, average class folks and even oligarchs. Among the protesters, there are several notable stereotypes. GlobalVoices shows drawings from Oleksandr Komyakhov. Among these are drawings of a wealthy man bringing tires and a woman carrying bags with medicine to help those who are beaten by the Berkut police.
The most outrageous is a picture tweeted of an old Euromaidan protester lady, being pulled away by a Berkut policeman. It seems that Berkut is trying to hang onto power in every way possible, even if it means attacking an older woman who probably wouldn’t even cause much harm to the police in the first place.
Among the protesters is a group known as the women’s 100. Yulia, a university student, is part of this women’s 100 group. According to her, this women’s group takes in women of all ages, even 12 year old girls, with their parents’ permission. She says that the women’s 100 goal is to “Try and hold peaceful talks with the Berkut police and the young men who oppose Euromaidan.” They do not support violence from either side, so their main goal is to try and help Euromaidan succeed under peaceful circumstances.
“Чувства страха нет, — откровенничает Юля. — Даже когда нас разгоняли, его не было. Мы наравне с парнями несем вахту. Им ведь тоже нужно отдыхать.” (“There is no feeling of fear, – shares Yulia. – Even when they were trying to make us leave- there was no feeling of fear. We carry our responsibilities equally to the guys. Because even they need a rest.”)
Those who do not support Euromaidan’s movement consider fighters of Euromaidan to be violent and extremely dangerous. A certain anonymous blogger was quick to label Euromaidan protesters as “fascists” who beat up innocent men and women of the “For a clean Kiev” group, which supposedly seeks to keep Kiev clean and rid of violence.
Both sides have a pretty negative opinion of one another, and it is clear that neither side is willing to give up, which poses a dangerous predicament. If eventually both sides do not come to some kind of agreement, the type of civil violence Ukraine is to encounter will be devastating.
Click on the link below to follow Euromaidan’s official Twitter page.