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.