Peaceful protest of concerned citizens? So much of the press around here would have us believe that the bunch above are out to burn some candles and sing songs of peace, for the love of Ukraine.
Actually, they are part of Svoboda, the All-Ukrainian Union, which is the leading force in the riots and has other groups under its direction. Svoboda used to be known as the Social-National Party of Ukraine, and their Führer is Oleh Tyahnybok. Apart from speaking of the ‘Russian-Jewish mafia’ that is supposed to be running Ukraine, he has openly praised the pro-fascist parties during the Second World War, which actively assisted the Germans in rounding up Jews and communists, and took part in the slaughter of 100,000 Poles. He and his party are anti-Jewish, anti-communist, and anti-Russian. Their base is in parts of Western Ukraine.
Actually, the protesters are flying the flag of that same party from the Second World War, the Ukrainian National Army (UPA), the military wing of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). It’s the red and black one:
And if you have a look at some of the pictures here, you’ll see the kind of weaponry they have assembled. One of my comrades in Kiev points out that the innocent looking Molotov cocktails actually have napalm in them:
So, the far right sees a glimmer of a chance to seize power, since they’ll never get it any other way. Of course, the EU among others is giving them all the support they want – wouldn’t be the first time. What is surprising people in Ukraine is that the government hasn’t cracked down on these neofascists earlier. In the Crimea and the eastern regions there have been rallies and meeting (somehow we don’t hear about those) demanding that the government act more decisively.