11 December 2013 Euromaidan assault

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11 December 2013 police assault on Euromaidan
Part of Euromaidan
Groups of protesters face a deployment of riot police during the evacuation operations. Kiev. December 10, 2013.jpg
Police clash with protesters on the night of 10 December
Date 10–12 December 2013
Location Kiev, Ukraine
Caused by Police attempt to clear Maidan
Goals Clearing the EuroMaidan Protest
Methods Protesting, raiding, civil disobedience
Status Over
Parties to the civil conflict
Maidan Protesters
Lead figures
Number
Kiev:
400,000–800,000 protesters[3]
12,000 "self-defense sotnia"[4][5]
  • 4,000 Berkut
  • 1,000 Internal Troops
  • 3,000–4,000 titushky[6]
Casualties
Some Injured

The assault of Euromaidan by security forces on 11 December 2013 was an attempt by Viktor Yanukovych’s regime to break up the Euromaidan protest through a night assault using Berkut special police units and interior ministry troops. Their tactics were the displacement of frontal peaceful protesters from lightly barricaded camps at the Independence Square and part of Khreshchatyk Street which is near Bessarabska Square.

The government cited the need to maintain public order as one of the grounds for the assault. There was also the enforcement of the resolution of the Pecherskyi District Court, which was read before the protesters during the night of the attack. It was found later that such a procedure was illegal since public enforcements are only allowed to be read and served by 10 pm only. The court order was also, in fact, explicit in stating that Vitali Klitschko was forbidden to hinder citizens moving along the main streets. Vitali Klitschko himself was neither informed of that resolution nor given the opportunity to appeal against it.[7] People responsible for the unlawful assault against peaceful protesters have not been identified.

Events[edit]

Start of the assault[edit]

The Berkut special police units began their attempt clear up Euromaidan at 1:02 am. The Berkut soldiers began to break down the barricades in Instytutska street, while starting a fight with "Freedom" party deputies Ruslan Koshulynskyi, Oleksii Kaida, Andrii Mishchenko and Oleh Osuhovskyi. Two of the deputies were sustained injuring on their face and body.

At 1:33 a.m. Andriy Shevchenko informed the protesters that Berkut forces were going to break the barricades from the side of Mykhailivska Square.[7][8] Violent fights occurred in the Square as the Berkut started destroying the barricade on Instytutska Street, and Titushky started plundering the camp. Although the government concentrated a large number of security forces around the square, protesters did not give up and their number eventually grew. Berkut used tear gas on the protesters and the clouds of the smoke were visible over the crowd as reports about arrested and injured people, including MPs, were being aired in the news. Calls for mass mobilization of Kyiv citizens to the Maidan were spread and many people responded to the call.[9]

2013-12-11. Штурм Майдана 08

Main Assault[edit]

The Berkut suspended their assault and protesters were given shields, which were obtained from the Berkut. The Berkut began to regroup and move against the protesters once again. Unarmed protesters with linked arms had been holding the Euromaidan defense line for three hours against the large mass of Berkut from the Instytutska street side of the square.[10] The number of people at Euromaidan grew, but the leaders of Berkut were also trying to regroup forces in order to attack from the other side. Several titushky (thugs) sprang out from the Prorizna street and started to attack people with the intent to organize a hash.[11] There were more than 15 thousand people on the Maidan at this time. The Berkut continued trying to break into the trade union building. With the number of people on the Maidan increasing, the Berkut came closer to the Maidan and tried to encircle it.[11]

Euromaidan Night of 11 December 108

Bells of the Maidan[edit]

As 4,000 Berkut soldiers attacked the square, the bell-ringer of the St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery rang the bells in alarm. 8 hours after the assault had begun, Maidan self-defense units stabilized the Euromaidan perimeter by pushing the Berkut fighters back beyond the barricades.[12]

Aftermath[edit]

The forceful assault of the peaceful protesters are mostly seen by observers as an overkill. There are those who say that if Yanukovych simply let the protesters be, the demonstrations would have died out of its own.[13] Due to the violent and illegal crackdown, the demonstration proved to be a success, achieving key victories. Once the bells of St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral rang in alarm the whole night, as if it was the Middle Ages, protesters began to arrive as reinforcements. The warning alarm system of the National Resistance Headquarters enabled activists to come by cars or passing transport (taxi drivers gave a free ride) to prevent the assault of security forces. The illegal court order served by the assaulting forces was not executed and the government didn’t attempt to enforce it again.

Ultimately, the Euromaidan protest and its crackdown contributed to the collapse of Yanukovych's regime in February 2014. Scholars noted that the demonstration showed an unprecedented tenacity and self-organization on the part of the protesters - phenomena that are considered unique in post-Soviet mass mobilization.[14] Specifically, this aspect also gave rise to an emergent volunteer movement and the rise of in activism of civil society groups in Ukraine. This last is demonstrated by the fact that the Euromaidan protest was not led by opposition politicians or political organizations. The majority of the protesters themselves were not affiliated with any political organization.[15]

The Euromaidan protest also has bearing on the Russian response to the protest and Yanukovych ouster. Its annexation of Crimea and its military incursion into Ukraine were activities that - for a number of observers - indicate a fear of having to contend with "a Maidan of its own, about exercising control in its 'spheres of interests and influence' and about contradictions between East and West, as perceived by Russia."[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Musicians liven up EuroMaidan stage, Kyiv Post (29 November 2013)
  2. ^ (in Ukrainian) Руслана Лижичко разом із однодумцями оголосила голодування на майдані Ruslana together with like-minded hunger strike on Maidan, TSN (25 November 2013)
  3. ^ Whitmore, Brian (6 December 2013). "Putin's Growing Threat Next Door". The Atlantic. 
  4. ^ "EuroMaidan rallies in Ukraine – Dec. 16". Kyiv Post. 15 December 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "The Council of Maidan Self-Defense Organizes "United Revolutionary Army" throughout Ukraine | Euromaidan PR". Euromaidanpr.wordpress.com. 8 February 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Мариинском парке собралось около 3–4 тысяч "титушек" – нардеп [Mariinsky park were about 3–4 thousand "titushek" – People's Deputy]. UNIAN (in Ukrainian). 22 January 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "СИЛОВИКИ ПРОРВАЛИСЯ НА МАЙДАН". 
  8. ^ СИЛОВИКИ ПРОРВАЛИСЯ НА МАЙДАН Українська Правда, 11 грудня 2013 р.
  9. ^ "ШТУРМ БАРИКАД. 11 грудня. НІЧ ТА РАНОК СПРОТИВУ - Українська правда". Українська правда. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  10. ^ "Аронець live (Svoye.TV)". Ustream. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "Головна сторінка". Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  12. ^ "Церква засудила дії правоохоронців в ніч на середу на Майдані". Радіо Свобода. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  13. ^ Way, Lucan (2015). Pluralism by Default: Weak Autocrats and the Rise of Competitive Politics. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 1886. ISBN 9781421418124. 
  14. ^ Mohamedou, Mohammad-Mahmoud; Sisk, Timothy (2016). Democratisation in the 21st Century: Reviving Transitology. London: Routledge. p. 35. ISBN 9781138673823. 
  15. ^ Mohamedou & Sisk, p. 35.
  16. ^ Manoli, Panagiota (2017). Aftermath of the Ukrainian Crisis. London: Routledge. ISBN 9781138684744.