As police bullets and tear gas rained down on protesters at Independence Square just after dawn on Feb. 20, the bloody body of one of the first victims of the violence was laid out with a candle memorial near the western barricade on Khreshchatyk Street.
A priest prayed over the body. A woman wept. A man, shaking his clenched fists in the air, shouted: “They are killing our heroes!”
Another man draped a Ukrainian flag on the man and then placed a sign above his head with a warning for Ukraine’s president: “Yanukovych, you’re next.”
Central Kyiv became a war zone just after breakfast time on February 20, shattering a truce reached the night before by embattled President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders. Either police and protesters weren’t listening, or they had different orders.
It remained unclear late on February 20 who drew first blood on the country’s bloodiest day in its post-Soviet history.
Police told the Kyiv Post that the protesters attacked first, while several protesters at the scene said that the police started the fight when they threw an explosive at protesters, injuring several of them.
Amid the violence, several Yanukovych loyalists said they would leave the president’s ruling Party of Regions, including Volodymyr Makeyenko, the Kyiv City State Administration head appointed by the president.
To read the full story, visit The Kyiv Post.
(Photo: EuroMaydan via Facebook)