Independence Square In Flames As Maidan Activists Clash With Ukrainian Forces

07/08/2014 17:07 | Updated 07 August 2014

The remaining protesters occupying Kiev’s Independence Square were confronted by Ukrainian authorities on Thursday, with government forces intent on clearing the last demonstrators that have laid siege to the area for more than seven months. Around 100 Maidan activists remain encamped in the former tourist spot, living in tents. The confrontation led to huge plumes of black smoke as protesters set fire to tires, forming a barricade around the square.

The euromaidan activists occupied the area in downtown Kiev in protest at former President Viktor Yanukovych’s move towards Russia and away from the European Union. Yanukovych stepped down in February, an act that led Russia to annex Crimea and subsequently launch a proxy war against Ukraine through pro-Russian militants on the border. Despite the changes in Kiev, with a more pro-Western government installed, remnants of the original protest remain, calling for greater involvement of the people in the running of the country.

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  • An Orthodox priest holds a stone as Maidan self-defence activists clash with fighters of Kiev-1 volunteer battalion on Independence Square in Kiev on August 7, 2014. Kiev's municipal services protected with the servicemen tried to remove tents from the city's central Independence Square, also known as Maidan, and free Khreshchatyk Street for the traffic. Some few hundreds of Maidan activists still live in the tent camp set in the center of the Ukrainian capital that upsets the vast majority of the local residents. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • An Orthodox priest holds a stone as Maidan self-defence activists clash with fighters of Kiev-1 volunteer battalion on Independence Square in Kiev on August 7, 2014. Kiev's municipal services protected with the servicemen tried to remove tents from the city's central Independence Square, also known as Maidan, and free Khreshchatyk Street for the traffic. Some few hundreds of Maidan activists still live in the tent camp set in the center of the Ukrainian capital that upsets the vast majority of the local residents. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • An Orthodox priest gestures with a stick and shouts as Maidan self-defence activists clash with fighters of Kiev-1 volunteer battalion on Independence Square in Kiev on August 7, 2014. Kiev's municipal services protected with the servicemen tried to remove tents from the city's central Independence Square, also known as Maidan, and free Khreshchatyk Street for the traffic. Some few hundreds of Maidan activists still live in the tent camp set in the center of the Ukrainian capital that upsets the vast majority of the local residents. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • A man holds tires as Maidan self-defence activists clash with fighters of Kiev-1 volunteer battalion on Independence Square in Kiev on August 7, 2014. Kiev's municipal services protected with the servicemen tried to remove tents from the city's central Independence Square, also known as Maidan, and free Khreshchatyk Street for the traffic. Some few hundreds of Maidan activists still live in the tent camp set in the center of the Ukrainian capital that upsets the vast majority of the local residents. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • An Orthodox priest holding a stone and a stick shouts as Maidan self-defence activists clash with fighters of Kiev-1 volunteer battalion on Independence Square in Kiev on August 7, 2014. Kiev's municipal services protected with the servicemen tried to remove tents from the city's central Independence Square, also known as Maidan, and free Khreshchatyk Street for the traffic. Some few hundreds of Maidan activists still live in the tent camp set in the center of the Ukrainian capital that upsets the vast majority of the local residents. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • A young man throws tires to a fire as Maidan self-defence activists clash with fighters of Kiev-1 volunteer battalion on Independence Square in Kiev on August 7, 2014. Kiev's municipal services protected with the servicemen tried to remove tents from the city's central Independence Square, also known as Maidan, and free Khreshchatyk Street for the traffic. Some few hundreds of Maidan activists still live in the tent camp set in the center of the Ukrainian capital that upsets the vast majority of the local residents. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • An Orthodox priest stands together with Maidan self-defence activists who clash with fighters of Kiev-1 volunteer battalion on Independence Square in Kiev on August 7, 2014. Kiev's municipal services protected with the servicemen tried to remove tents from the city's central Independence Square, also known as Maidan, and free Khreshchatyk Street for the traffic. Some few hundreds of Maidan activists still live in the tent camp set in the center of the Ukrainian capital that upsets the vast majority of the local residents. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • Firemen try to extinguish a tires fire as Maidan self-defence activists clash with fighters of Kiev-1 volunteer battalion on Independence Square in Kiev on August 7, 2014. Kiev's municipal services protected with the servicemen tried to remove tents from the city's central Independence Square, also known as Maidan, and free Khreshchatyk Street for the traffic. Some few hundreds of Maidan activists still live in the tent camp set in the center of the Ukrainian capital that upsets the vast majority of the local residents. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • Smoldering tires are seen during clashes between Maidan self-defence activists and fighters of Kiev-1 volunteer battalion on Independence Square in Kiev on August 7, 2014. Kiev's municipal services protected with the servicemen tried to remove tents from the city's central Independence Square, also known as Maydan, and free of Khreshchatyk Street for the traffic. Some few hundreds of Maidan activists still live in the tent camp set in the center of Ukrainian capital that causes dissatisfaction the vast majority of the local residents. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • An Orthodox priest throws a tyre as Maidan self-defence activists clash with fighters of Kiev-1 volunteer battalion on Independence Square in Kiev on August 7, 2014. Kiev's municipal services protected with the servicemen tried to remove tents from the city's central Independence Square, also known as Maidan, and free Khreshchatyk Street for the traffic. Some few hundreds of Maidan activists still live in the tent camp set in the center of the Ukrainian capital that upsets the vast majority of the local residents. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • Activists shout during clashes with forces from the Kiev-1 volunteer battalion on Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Demonstrators on Thursday confronted city workers attempting to clear a central square, lighting tyres on fire in protest against the city government's move. Dark plumes of smoke from burning rubber rose above Independence Square as workers guarded by armed men in camouflage dismantled some of the barricades surrounding the area. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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  • Activists build barricades during clash with a special forces police battalion, in Independence Square, Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Demonstrators on Thursday confronted city workers attempting to clear a central square, lighting tyres on fire in protest against the city government's move. Dark plumes of smoke from burning rubber rose above Independence Square as workers guarded by armed men in camouflage dismantled some of the barricades surrounding the area. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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  • Activists throw a fire bomb during clashes with a special forces police battalion, in Independence Square, Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Demonstrators on Thursday confronted city workers attempting to clear a central square, lighting tyres on fire in protest against the city government's move. Dark plumes of smoke from burning rubber rose above Independence Square as workers guarded by armed men in camouflage dismantled some of the barricades surrounding the area. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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  • A local resident reacts as he inspects the damage after shelling in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Fighting in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk claimed more civilian casualties, bringing new calls from Russian nationalists for President Vladimir Putin to send in the army . (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
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  • Special forces police battalion officers detain an activist during a clash in Independence Square, Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. The unrest had started earlier Thursday, following the Kiev authorities attempt to dismantle some of the barricades. Activists confronted city workers attempting to clear a central square, lighting tyres on fire in protest against the city government's move. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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  • Activists clash with a special forces police battalion, in Independence Square, Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Demonstrators on Thursday confronted city workers attempting to clear a central square, lighting tyres on fire in protest against the city government's move. Dark plumes of smoke from burning rubber rose above Independence Square as workers guarded by armed men in camouflage dismantled some of the barricades surrounding the area. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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  • Activists and special forces police battalion officers argue in Independence Square, Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Demonstrators on Thursday confronted city workers attempting to clear a central square, lighting tyres on fire in protest against the city government's move. Dark plumes of smoke from burning rubber rose above Independence Square as workers guarded by armed men in camouflage dismantled some of the barricades surrounding the area. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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  • Activists throw stones as they clash with forces from the Kiev-1 volunteer battalion on Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Demonstrators on Thursday confronted city workers attempting to clear a central square, lighting tyres on fire in protest against the city government's move. Dark plumes of smoke from burning rubber rose above Independence Square as workers guarded by armed men in camouflage dismantled some of the barricades surrounding the area. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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  • Burned tires are scattered on Independence Square after clash with special forces police battalion in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Demonstrators on Thursday confronted city workers attempting to clear a central square, lighting tyres on fire in protest against the city government's move. Dark plumes of smoke from burning rubber rose above Independence Square as workers guarded by armed men in camouflage dismantled some of the barricades surrounding the area. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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  • Activists clash with forces from the Kiev-1 volunteer battalion on Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Demonstrators on Thursday confronted city workers attempting to clear a central square, lighting tyres on fire in protest against the city government's move. Dark plumes of smoke from burning rubber rose above Independence Square as workers guarded by armed men in camouflage dismantled some of the barricades surrounding the area. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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  • Activists clash with forces from the Kiev-1 volunteer battalion as firemen spray water on burning tyres on Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Demonstrators on Thursday confronted city workers attempting to clear a central square, lighting tyres on fire in protest against the city government's move. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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  • A man throws a Molotov cocktail as Maidan self-defence activists clash with fighters of Kiev-1 volunteer battalion on Independence Square in Kiev on August 7, 2014. Kiev's municipal services protected with the servicemen tried to remove tents from the city's central Independence Square, also known as Maidan, and free Khreshchatyk Street for the traffic. Some few hundreds of Maidan activists still live in the tent camp set in the center of the Ukrainian capital that upsets the vast majority of the local residents. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
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  • A bleeding man reacts after Maidan self-defence activists clash with fighters of Kiev-1 volunteer battalion on Independence Square in Kiev on August 7, 2014. Kiev's municipal services protected with the servicemen tried to remove tents from the city's central Independence Square, also known as Maidan, and free Khreshchatyk Street for the traffic. Some few hundreds of Maidan activists still live in the tent camp set in the center of the Ukrainian capital that upsets the vast majority of the local residents. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
  • SERGEI SUPINSKY via Getty Images
  • Maidan self-defence activists clash with fighters of Kiev-1 volunteer battalion on Independence Square in Kiev on August 7, 2014. Kiev's municipal services protected with the servicemen tried to remove tents from the city's central Independence Square, also known as Maidan, and free Khreshchatyk Street for the traffic. Some few hundreds of Maidan activists still live in the tent camp set in the center of the Ukrainian capital that upsets the vast majority of the local residents. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

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