Europe

Big picture: Close-up of Kiev's Independence Square

  • 20 February 2014
  • From the section Europe

A number of protesters and police have lost their lives in violent clashes in central Kiev, Ukraine, in demonstrations against the government of President Viktor Yanukovych.

Protests have centred on the capital's Independence Square, also known as the Maidan, where protesters had set up camp over a number of months.

The stand-off turned violent this week as riot police moved in to clear the protest camp.

INTERACTIVE
  • × Satellite image of central Kiev

  • 1. The Maidan: Independence Square

    × The Maidan

    Independence Square, or the Maidan, has become a scene of devastation. What was the location of a peaceful protest camp is now a battleground.

  • 2. Armed protesters

    × Armed protesters

    Protesters have armed themselves with whatever they can get their hands on in their fight against police. Witnesses reported hearing and seeing live rounds, petrol bombs and water cannon being used in and around Independence Square.

  • 3. Statue scaled

    × Kiev statue

    Protesters have clambered up one of the most famous statues in Kiev. It recognises the four founders of the city.

  • 4. Injured evacuated

    × Injured being evacuated

    Eyewitnesses have counted a number of bodies around the area clashes are taking place. The nearby Hotel Ukraine is being used as a makeshift mortuary.

  • 5. Burning barricades

    × Burning barricades

    Protesters have been burning tyres on barricades, intended to keep the police at bay. They have been reinforcing their defences with debris from the square - including kiosks and bricks

  • 6. Protesters advance

    × Protesters climb the side of a bridge

    Demonstrators climbed banks at the side of Independence Square onto a bridge, as they made their advance towards police lines.

Security forces had given protesters a deadline of Tuesday 18 February to leave the square, but instead, violence took hold and battles between the demonstrators and police left a number of people dead.

Independence Square, which for weeks was the setting for a mostly peaceful protest camp, now more closely resembles a siege, as the remaining protesters attempt to hold their ground.

Image copyright Reuters

Battles between protesters and police continued on Wednesday, with police advancing with an armoured vehicle, dismantling barricades and firing stun grenades and water cannon.

After a truce was agreed, renewed clashes broke out and continued into Thursday.

Image copyright Reuters
Image copyright Getty Images

The usually quiet streets around Independence Square, near the International Centre of Culture and the National Arts Museum, have been lit with fires and clouded in smoke, as protesters confront the security forces.

The protesters have used burning tyres on the barricades in an attempt to hold the ground around the camp.

Before and after

Image copyright AFP/GETTY/GOOGLE

The trade union building on the Maidan was set alight late on Tuesday night.

Image copyright AFP/GETTY/GOOGLE

Fighting in the southern end of the square eventually led to the security forces taking control of the area around the Berehynia monument.