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Why some Ukrainian protesters are wearing kitchen colanders

Reporters take pictures during clashes between protesters and police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Jan. 22, 2014. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

If you see photos of Ukrainian protesters with colanders on their heads, don’t laugh -- the phenomenon, absurd as it seems, is actually another part of Ukraine’s growing unrest.

On Friday, the government passed a set of laws meant to muzzle protesters. They included, among other things, provisions that allow the government to ban citizens from the Internet and to prohibit different types of speech. As The Washington Post’s Will Englund reported late last week, one of the laws also forbids people from wearing helmets at protests -- a dangerous proposition, given the reports of violence coming out of Kiev today. Some protesters and reporters have responded by wearing colanders on their heads as they camp out in Kiev’s Independence Square.

Despite the harshness of these new laws, the protesters don’t appear to be dissuaded -- their camp has shrunk over the past month, Englund reports, but “has shown no sign of going away.”

Caitlin Dewey is The Post’s digital culture critic. Follow her on Twitter @caitlindewey or subscribe to her daily newsletter on all things Internet. (



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