Pro-EU Protesters in Kiev Resolute to Keep Rallying
Pro-EU protesters in Ukraine remain defiant and say they were ready to stay outside in downtown Kiev until Christmas or as long as needed.
Currently, Independence Square in the Ukrainian capital looks like an ice fortress after 5-meters high barricades were made from water that freezes in seconds due to subzero temperatures.
The makeshift barriers have been built with old tires, metal pipes and sand bags packed with snow to ward off any further attempt by the authorities to empty the square.
Guards, who monitor the situation and people approaching the stronghold, are deployed on the barricades.
10 000 people gathered on the square Thursday evening. There were a rally and a concert, and then the football match between Kiev team "Dynamo" and "Rapid" was shown on a big screen.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine listed in its official report the number protesters on the square Thursday night at 4 000.
Public order in the capital was secured by some 1 900 police officers, the Ministry adds.
The government's decision not to sign a deal on closer EU ties last month has sparked weeks of mass rallies.
However, Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov said Ukraine would "soon sign" the pact in a meeting in Brussels.
His comments on Thursday came despite the earlier government U-turn, which followed pressure from Russia.
The Ukrainian government's handling of the pro-EU protests in the square has drawn criticism from both the European Union and the US. Many have been injured or reported missing after clashes with Berkut, the special riot police, and other police forces.
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