Live streams from Maidan – the main square were Ukrainians have been protesting since November 2013 – showed capital city Kyiv ablaze on the evening of February 18, 2014. Fierce clashes between police and protesters around the main square continued through the night. On February 19, the Kyiv Post reported that at least 25 people are dead and more than 1,000 are injured.
Protests in Ukraine escalated to a deadly stand-off between hundreds of thousands of citizens and government forces on February 18. Roads to the city were blocked by authorities, and the metro in Kyiv was stopped. The main opposition TV channel reported being taken off air.
What began as pro-EU demonstrations in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in November 2013, which went largely unnoticed by Western media, soon turned into a mass movement to “take back the country.”
Dubbed the #Euromaidan protests (#Євромайдан in Ukrainian and #Евромайдан in Russian), hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians from all over the country have been gathering in Kyiv on weekends, thousands of whom maintain the movement during weekdays and nights. Faced with increasing crackdowns from the government – some brutal beatings by police have been captured on video - activists have been using social media, technology and mapping to sustain the protests and organize it into a mass movement.
During the first weekend of protests in December, a major Ukrainian Internet provider, Volya-Cable, announced [uk] that it would increased the speed of Internet connection for its clients residing in the center of Kyiv and called on them to open Internet access for protesters to use. Many followed this advice and opened their WiFi connections, while other users released their WiFi passwords [uk] to the public.
On November 21, 2013 Ukraine's leaders abandoned a long-planned deal to move closer to the European Union. Russian threats to impose high tariffs and boycotts of the Ukrainian market were the immediate driver, but the move also exposed a long-simmering conflict about Ukraine's future.
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- Social media aggregator sites with latest videos and photos:
- EuroMaidan Facebook page [Ukrainian]
- EuroMaidan Facebook page [English]
- Євромайдан SOS (Euromaidan SOS) [Ukrainian] gathers information about victims of police beatings, government pressure and detentions.
- Maidanhelp.org [Ukrainian] crowdsources information regarding current medical and legal needs of Euromaidan participants.