Protests against new anti-democratic laws in Ukraine are increasing in intensity, with four citizens reported dead. As you can see in these extraordinary images by Ilya Varlamov, the demonstrators are using rockets made with fireworks. They look like scenes from some science-fiction movie about urban warfare.
The latest reports talk about at least four people killed and hundreds injured by the police. After the massive protests against the government’s rejection against the European Union in favour of an alliance with the former Russian oppressors, Kiev officials announced new repressive laws limiting the people’s right to protest. These urban battles are the people’s reaction to those laws.
Ukraine was a former Soviet Republic, created after a civil war between pro-communist and the Ukrainian People’s Republic armies at the beginning of the 20th century, right after the fall of the Russian Empire. The communists won, and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was established. In theory, it was an independent state, but in fact — like all republics in the USSR and satellite countries — it was under a tight control by the Kremlin.
Here’s a video with some of the action. Fast forward to the three-minute mark to see the fireworks guns:
From the AP: “A protester throws a Molotov cocktail during clashes with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. Three people have died in clashes between protesters and police in the Ukrainian capital Wednesday, according to medics on the site, in a development that will likely escalate Ukraine’s two month-long political crisis. The mass protests in the capital of Kiev erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favour of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $US15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)”
From the AP: “Protesters use fireworks during clashes with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, late Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. The mass protests in Kiev, the capital, erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favour of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $US15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Evgeny Feldman)”
From the AP: “Protesters fire at police with fireworks, in central Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, Jan. 20, 2014. After a night of vicious streets battles, anti-government protesters and police clashed anew Monday in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. Hundreds of protesters, many wearing balaclavas, hurled rocks and police responded with tear gas. (AP Photos/Sergei Grits)”