today from a friend in the heart of Kiev
The Canadian news likely shows a big escalation since yesterday. Without warning, without a demand to clear the square, armed troops surrounded the square and started to push through a few barricades. As people were running from the barricades to protection, they shot at them from behind as they ran. Five were killed and their bodies left on the road. It is said that the forces have only rubber bullets. People dig up the cobblestones from the road to throw at the special forces. They burn tires to create a smoke barrier and they throw Molotov cocktails from a distance. The troops are using guns, stun guns, flare bombs, water cannons, and also Molotov cocktails. Plain clothes troops have pistols. People come running when violence flares, not to fight but to stand together. Kievans came and this is why the forces blocked all access to the square. Nonetheless, 30,000 got through. The government said there is no state of emergency, but they shut down the subway system, and closed all highways to Kyiv. People come from all over the country in solidarity when the government acts stupidly. There are lines kilometers long on the highways. No one has weapons or receives money for this. But the government knows that a large crowd ruins everything for them.
They are advertizing that there are only terrorists on the maidan with guns and other weaponry, which no one has ever seen. No gun shot has ever been heard or seen from the side of the demonstrators. TV cameras and mobile phones record everything, every hour of the day and the night for three months. They show the demonstrators throwing cobblestones and cocktails. And they show the troops firing rifles continually, plus the stun grenades, flash bombs, and smoke bombs. And they show them physically truncheoning any demonstrators they can catch, beating them to unconsciousness. They set a building on fire which demonstrators used to get warm and store food. This is all on camera. Then they blamed the demonstrators for burning a valuable building and promise to jail them. The new key word is “terrorist”, which allows the government to use more extreme measures. They are demanding that the terrorists give up the weapons and turn themselves in to the law for punishment. They are simply not even good liars or manipulators of information. Foreign diplomats see everything, and are often on the sqaure.
About twenty people have been killed, among them 2 police officers. Yesterday evening, the government unplugged the only 24-hour news station that has its cameras on the square. The evidence is so plain. The facts undermine the government. After shutting down the network, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (police) wrote on their website that the terrorists shot their own to make the government look bad, that the troops have no guns and are not firing, and that the terrorists are trying to overthrow the government. It is hard to imagine how they can do this from a standing position on the square. The news channel found another means to broadcast and is up again this morning.
Unfortunately, the people are beginning to react with violence now. Three months of government attacks, violence, and lies. Every time there is supposed to be a discussion leading to a resolution, like yesterday’s alleged discussion about changes to the constitution, at the very same moment the government attacks. It is as though to catch the demonstrators off guard, but everyone sees the lies and manipulations. The government, which had little popular trust in the first place, has none now. Among the peaceful, some are giving up on peaceful means. It is not wanton violence but there is violence against buildings associated with the president: his party’s offices, administrative buildings under his jurisdiction across the country, some police buildings. It is far from over but the denseness, fear, and dishonesty of the president and his crew are making things worse with every decision. Even today, it would be so easy to turn things around, but, as Jesus cried at the walls of Jerusalem, these people simply cannot figure out what leads to peace. Priests are on the square with the people. There is public prayer every hour.
As an aside, during this period, about 30 still standing statues of Lenin in towns and villages have been taken down or destroyed by local people.
Say a prayer.
Be well ….