“The dramatic escalation in violence in the last 24 hours is deeply alarming. This is a time for clear-headed thinking where all sides should be striving to calm tensions and curb violence. Worryingly confrontation appears to be prevailing.”
“The abusive use of force by police in recent months has fanned the flames of protest currently burning in Independence Square – the Ukrainian authorities must be careful not to fuel them further. The police response to protester violence must be targeted and proportionate and the right to peaceful assembly respected.”
Three months after the first anti-government protests in Ukraine, the country has experienced its deadliest day of political violence, with nine people dying in clashes between demonstrators and police. The beating heart of the pro-Europe, anti-Russia ‘Euromaidan’ movement is in Kiev’s Independence Square (in Ukrainian, Maidan Nezalezhnosti), and the square is currently in flames after a day of police firing rubber bullets at protesters wielding molotov cocktails and fireworks. Earlier on Tuesday, opposition activists marched on parliament, while setting fire to government buildings and security vehicles. All this comes a day after Russia, which has urged Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to crush the protests, announced that it would be sending Ukraine $2 billion in aid as a lifeline for its tanking economy.
Now, as night falls in the capital, the independent Ukrainian station Espreso TV is broadcasting a live feed of the surreal scene in Independence Square—a feed punctuated by intermittent explosions and impassioned speeches.
The whole thing is bracing to behold.
Read more. [Image: Reuters/Maks Levin]
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Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr today, a great human rights champion. We live by these powerful words in our work every day. How has Dr. King influenced you?