Kiev. Chronicle of the events — clearing the government district on the night of December 9, 2013 (150 photos)
At 04.15 AM, the last line of the opposition defenses in the government quarter fell.
By 5 pm on December 9, all tent camps were surrounded by the units of the internal troops. The tacit confrontation has begun. While the opposition entertained itself with Maidan concerts and contests using a mobile station, more and more Berkut special forces and internal troops were closing in from Mariinsky Park. By midnight (subway shutdown time), no more than a hundred of opposition supporters remained at the crossroads of Kreposny Lane and Hrushevskoho Street. These were no storm-troopers in helmets and protection gear but rather common Kiev folk.
At 01:10 a.m. observers reported a movement from Mariinsky Theatre. Capsules of internal troops and Berkut began to close in on the target. In the beginning of the clearing operation, the place was visited by Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Nestor Shufrich, Ukrainian people’s deputies from opposing parties. They had quite peaceful conversation. Answering the question on whether the opposition plans to organize resistance, Yatsenyuk said that if the camp were to be dispersed, they would put up new camps. After that, one of the opposition leaders disappeared from the conflict zone.
The first one to fall, almost without a fight, was a camp at the corner of Institutska St. and the Krepostny Lane.
The camp opposite Mariinsky Park was holding up for almost half an hour. First, tow trucks were used to remove heavy equipment from the barricades, then people in sports gear and people from the Ministry of Emergencies started running into the camp tearing down the tents, removing benches and everything used for barricades. After one of the tents was taken down, accompanied by the cries of the people’s deputy Andriy Shevchenko that the tent was his property and his public reception point, the authorities discovered a few hundred shovel handles that bore more similarity to pickets in one of the tents. At 1:25 a.m. Berkut special forces and the internal troops closed up the square perimeter and completely removed the opposition groups into the Kreposny Lane.
For the first time since the start of the standoff, this sweep was carried out by the Crimean units of Berkut special forces, and this sweep was extremely soft-handled. When one of the opposition supporters had a heart attack, he was assisted by physicians of Berkut and the internal troops.
Having dismantled the tents and the generator, law enforcers left a passage for people. The opposition supporters moved to Bankova, where after 15-minutes of pushing about with the police they were oozed out to Khreschatyk station subway entrance. At the same time, the most aggressive and trained assault teams from Svoboda and UNA-UNSO right-wing parties did not come to the aid; neither did the opposition people’s deputies. The latter subsequently stated from Maidan stage that they were able to pick up the equipment and tents, which in fact remained with the Ministry of Emergencies as trophies.
The last to fall, after the longest resistance, was a barricade at Lutheranska Street, near the church. There the opposition resisted for about an hour — mainly due to a larger number of Svoboda representatives. However, Berkut forces and interior troops squads coming out of the side arches squeezed the opposition out behind the church fence and down the Lutheranska Street. Same as in case with the sweeps at Hrushevskoho and Institutska, by the final part of this operation the leader of Svoboda party appeared from behind the police via specially set up corridor. After a short press interview, he proceeded to Kiev City Hall.
At 4:15 a.m. the last line of opposition defences in the government quarter fell. The protesters still control Kyiv City Hall, Maidan and the Trade Unions House. By 6:00 a.m. the internal troops completely blocked Khreschatyk and adjacent streets on all sides. Possibly, the building of Kiev City Administration will be the next target for a sweep-up.