In Ukraine, protests resemble Medieval battle
by Laura Mills, Associated Press
January 24, 2014 09:45 AM | 1301 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In this file photo taken on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, Protesters clad in improvised protective gear prepare for a clash with police in central Kiev, Ukraine. Protesters in Kiev used improvised protective gear to protect themselves from stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas during clashes with police in central Kiev this week? After a night of vicious streets battles, anti-government protesters and police clashed anew Monday in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. (AP Photo/Evgeny Feldman, file)
In this file photo taken on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, Protesters clad in improvised protective gear prepare for a clash with police in central Kiev, Ukraine. Protesters in Kiev used improvised protective gear to protect themselves from stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas during clashes with police in central Kiev this week? After a night of vicious streets battles, anti-government protesters and police clashed anew Monday in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. (AP Photo/Evgeny Feldman, file)
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In this file photo taken on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, Protesters clad in improvised protective gear prepare for a clash with police in central Kiev, Ukraine. Protesters in Kiev used improvised protective gear to protect themselves from stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas during clashes with police in central Kiev this week? 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 Photo/Sergei Grits, file)
In this file photo taken on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, Protesters clad in improvised protective gear prepare for a clash with police in central Kiev, Ukraine. Protesters in Kiev used improvised protective gear to protect themselves from stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas during clashes with police in central Kiev this week? 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 Photo/Sergei Grits, file)
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In this file photo taken on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, Protesters use fireworks during clashes with police in central Kiev, Ukraine. The mass protests in Kiev, the capital, erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Evgeny Feldman, file)
In this file photo taken on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, Protesters use fireworks during clashes with police in central Kiev, Ukraine. The mass protests in Kiev, the capital, erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Evgeny Feldman, file)
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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — The towering fleece hats and elaborate beards of Ukraine's 16th-century Cossacks are favored by many of the demonstrators on Kiev's main square, who have camped out in anti-government protests for nearly two months.

When events turned violent this week, demonstrators' weapons also had an antique aura and clashes resembled a Medieval assault.

Armed To The Teeth

Protesters have armed themselves like Crusaders with plywood shields, often painted with a cross, against the stun grenades and rubber bullets from police lines. They broke up the pavement on nearby streets and squares, lobbing the chunks toward the police.

They also hurled firebombs, firecrackers and fireworks at riot police officers, many of whom were injured when firebombs spilled burning fuel on their uniforms and helmets. Meanwhile, pro-opposition websites have alleged that the police are wrapping their stun grenades with nails and pieces of metal in order to inflict injuries.

Many protesters are protecting their heads with helmets and even colanders. One man came in Medieval battle armor, and another fashioned himself a bow and arrow for the fight. One group of men made a massive catapult from boards to pelt firebombs a longer distance; when it was burned down in a police attack, they rebuilt it the next day.

The Barricades

Protesters have attempted to keep the police at bay by building 10-foot-high (3-meter-high) barricades along all the entrances to Kiev's Independence Square. The barricades are piled high with everything from wooden poles to rubber tires.

On Thursday night, as temperatures dropped to minus-15 C (5 F), demonstrators shoveled snow into burlap sacks and tossed them to the top of the heap. They splashed the barricades with water to make them freeze solid and be tricky for police to climb.

On Wednesday, after police chased demonstrators away from one clash site, demonstrators set huge piles of tires alight, engulfing much of downtown Kiev in billowing black smoke.

Taunting The Enemy

Some protesters erected a mock tribunal with an effigy of President Viktor Yanukovych in a striped inmate's uniform, sitting in a cage with his arms and neck tied up to the metal bars. The opposition has invented a wide variety of chants mocking Yanukovych and his deputies.



Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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