On August 19, Kiev's Independence Square was cleared of the last remains of the Euromaidan protest camp. Despite the fact that the new Ukrainian government owes much of its power to the people who built it, the camp had lately become a thorn in the eye of the state, and so the tents were finally forcibly removed by the authorities. After former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych's departure in February 2014, most protesters had returned home anyway. Those who remained in the camp were mostly activists who'd grown too accustomed to the permanent state of emergency to go back to their normal lives.
A few days before the evacuation was supposed to take place, I found myself on Independence Square. I couldn't shake the impression that apart from random passerby and a few tourists, a lot of the inhabitants of the remaining tent cities were slightly dubious characters. Most were men in camouflage clothing, some of whom also wore flags of political organizations; many looked quite disheveled, as they might after living outdoors for months. My Ukrainian friends told me about nocturnal assaults and fights breaking out in the middle of the night on the square. After dark, the square didn't feel like a safe place to be in.
As the encampment was being cleared, the last inhabitants reacted by setting tires on fire and throwing stones at the city workers. Despite their opposition, the Maidan finally returned to its original state. The big Christmas tree, the flags, and posters will later be displayed in a museum dedicated to the events of the past year.
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