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Rally on Kiev’s Independence Square continues but crowd thinning

December 18, 2013, 16:35 UTC+3 KIEV
Kiev police have reported several fistfights
1 pages in this article
© ЕРА/TATYANA ZENKOVICH

KIEV, December 18. /ITAR-TASS/.The Kiev police have reported several fistfights of the protesters on Independence Square, but failed to suppress them, as the demonstrators had blocked the access of the law enforcers on the square.

The police have received six reports about the fistfights on Independence Square over the past day, the Kiev main Interior Ministry’s department reported. “The protesters from Shostka, Melitopol, Khmelnitsky, Izyum, Volnogorsk and Kiev stated about beating them by unidentified people,” the police reported. The medics have diagnosed closed head injuries, soft tissue head bruises and brain concussion in injured people. Meanwhile, most patients were drunken.

 

Meanwhile, leaders of Ukraine’s pro-Western opposition are obviously in no hurry to declare the ending of protest actions on Independence Square /the Maidan/ in Kiev but the crowd of protesters is apparently thinning and this concerns the daytime and nighttime hours in an equal measure.

Some of the protesters are now getting ready to leave for home - some of them say their regular paid vacations are over, while others are simply running out of money. Although meetings continue here and there, all the signs suggest that people are starting preparations for celebrating the New Year and thus plunging into the traditional pre-New Year rush.

The crowd on the Maidan grows noticeably at nighttime but one may get a clear impression that people come here to listen to popular performers rather than speakers. Musical interludes between the oppositionist activists’ speeches are getting increasingly longer.

In the small hours of morning, the Maidan looks half-deserted. Lists of rally participants willing to return home free of charge are being compiled in the building of the Kiev City Administration, which remains in the hands of the opposition militants who seized it.

The destinations of these return trips mentioned in posters inside the building mostly feature the cities and regions in western Ukraine, known for its hostile attitude towards Russia.

 

In the meantime, speakers at the main rally called on the people Tuesday to stay on the Maidan until the authorities fulfill all the demands on the part of protesters. Opposition leaders urged their supporters to come to the square every day so that one could take counsel with them.

In the meantime, the rank-and-file residents of Kiev are getting more and more immersed in preparations for the New Year festivities. Christmas Tree bazaars have appeared on city streets where a 1.5 meters-long fir tree costs about 150 hyvnias /$ 18.16/.

However, one can choose there from a variety of trees costing from $ 6 to $ 110. Some of the bazaars are unauthorized but the Kiev police have stepped up control over the sales of fir trees over the past few days so as to prevent profiteering by poachers.

he country’s knotty political and economic situation impedes full-scale preparations for the New Year, however. Ukrainian media say companies have slashed their spending for corporate parties this year by a third compared with previous year.

Pop stars who usually have tightly packed work schedules during the New Year periods complain that the protesters on the Maidan have deprived them of earnings.

The companies specializing in the organization of New Year entertainment programs provide two explanations for the situation.

They say that, on the one hand, problems in the economy have forced the people, who would previously lavish money on New Year joys, have turned to frugality. On the other hand, continuing protests are not particularly conducive to celebrations and that is why the customers are rescheduling the corporate parties for January in a hope that the situation will fully return to normal by then.

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