KIEV, Ukraine — Today at 6:00 p.m. local time, Ukrainian police began forcefully trying to extract protesters from Independence Square after issuing a deadline for departure earlier that day, BBC reports.
After five months of protesting occupation, police began an “anit-terror mission” by firing water cannons at the crowd and operating and advancing armored vehicles in the square, locally known as the Maidan. Protestors have responded by throwing fireworks, and large fires have now broken out in the square. So far, nine people have been killed.
Protest leaders urged women and children to leave the area for fear of potential injury, but have clearly stated that they and the majority of protesters have no intention of leaving.
“We have nowhere to retreat to, Ukraine is behind us, and Ukraine’s future is ahead of us. No fear, only faith in our strength, only solidarity and unity, only mutual support,” opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk passionately stated.
Protest in Keiv began in response to current President Viktor Yanukovych rejecting a deal with the European Union in favor of retaining close ties with Russia. Protestors are calling for Yanukovych’s immediate resignation and constitutional revisions.
Read the full article here and see live video footage: Ukraine police storm main Kiev ‘Maidan’ protest camp