On the 19th of August, 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 that built it, the camp had lately become a thorn in the eye of the State.
After former Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovych's departure in February 2014, most protesters returned home. Those who remained in the camp were mostly folk who had 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. The horrific images of recent protests that I knew only from the media's coverage of Euromaidan were now laid out in front of my eyes in the shape of a tired aftermath. 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 them also wore flags of political organisations and many looked quite disheveled.
My Ukrainian friends told me of nocturnal assaults and fights breaking out in the middle of the night on the square. After dark, the square in the Ukrainian capital’s heart – despite its improvised militia checkpoints, unlit large tents and barricades of stacked car tires – did not feel like a safe place to be in.
As the square 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 after a long time. 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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