These videos show how serious protests have gotten in Ukraine

January 21

Riot police put out a fire in Kiev. (YouTube)

Protests are kicking back up in Ukraine, with tens of thousands rallying at Kiev's Independence Square after President Viktor Yanu­kovych signed new laws drastically restricting speech and assembly rights. It's not full-on Tahrir Square in Kiev, but it's pretty serious. These three videos convey just how much things have escalated.

Phalanxes of riot police, some set on fire

This is important: Most protesters are not violent, and what's happening in Kiev is not, despite some government assertions to the contrary, a "mass riot." Still, there's been violence, with some protesters throwing flares at the vast rows of security forces. This video shows what it looks like from the police's perspective, with some set alight at about 2:00 into the video.


Protesters built a giant catapult

Some protesters are taking the siege mentality in the square a bit literally and, on Sunday, built a big catapult with which to hurl small stones. According to RT, police later took it apart.


Riot police taunt protesters

This video, from the protesters' perspectives, shows some security forces taunting the crowds, including with an obscene gesture. Things are getting tense.


This is what the square looks like now

For all the drama of the three moments above, this video seems to better capture the status quo of Kiev's Independence Square. It's tense, with protesters beating sticks on the burnt-out ruins of cars and trucks and with riot police firing water cannons intermittently (brr), but it's not quite trench warfare.

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