Kyiv last weekend had the Euphoria of hosting the Junior Eurovision Song Contest along side bloody conflict in Nezalezhnosti Square where protesters and police clashed. Eurovision winner Ruslana has always been a strong political activist and this weekend saw her ask Belarus to come to the assistance of the Ukrainian public.
Mass protests were sparked by the government’s decision not to sign an association deal with the EU last week.Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in protest at this decision. Over the course of the weekend violence from the police and military against the protesters erupted.
Today Prime Minister Mykola Azarov apologised in parliament for the use of police force against protesters saying
“On behalf of our government, I would like to apologise for the actions of our law enforcement authorities on Maidan [Independence Square]. The president and the government deeply regret that this happened.”
Eurovision winner Ruslana has spent days camped out with the protesters campaigning for the decision by the government regarding association with the EU to be reversed. On her official Facebook page she has shared her first hand experiences of the weekend’s events.
She has spent 4 days camped out with the hundreds of thousands of demonstrators. She gave a speech on Radio Racyja (transcript below) looking for assistance from neighbouring Belarus saying
“I have always known that Belarusian people strongly support Ukraine. Dear brothers! I performed in Belarus many times, we love Belarus very much, you must believe my words. What was done in Ukraine was a crime against Ukrainian people. Ukrainian people saw a future for themselves, they realized that Europe would provide insurance, which we would be able to use in order to get rid of corruption, bribes, violence, lawlessness. Courts are bribed in Ukraine, the justice is bribed, law only work for those, who control them”
The singer explained why hundreds of thousands of her country’s citizens came out for protest actions.
“We actually do want to integrate with the European Union, because we want Ukraine to be protected by standards and requirements. We no longer want the privatization of the country, we do not was gas to be turned off, for the country to be humiliated and blackmailed. There is no politics in that – these are common people, who have come out to the Maydan, there were no political flags above them on the day, when students were beaten. Students are the most principled people in the world, they are always idealists and maximalists, they stand for ideas, no one is able to provoke them, they are sincere and completely convinced of their views. These were simple guys, who were beaten half-dead. The girls, who were sleeping, were also brutally beaten like you could not imagine. I saw that blood with my own eyes, I can tell you it is a terrible sight.
In response to claims reported by the BBC stating that Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said that these protests are an attempt to enact a political coup Ruslana addressed these claims
Do not believe what politicians of provocateurs tell you on the news, please, believe simple words by people, people will tell you only one thing – this was an atrocity against children. We will never be able to forget that, because it was an actual bloody night, they were beaten with pleasure, with a grin, and screamed: “You asked for it – you get it!” How could this happen? Who did that, President Yanukovich? Why is he saying now that he has nothing to do with that? The authorities washed their hands and told these were not their action. But then who? Who ordered to beat peaceful young people? I strongly count on the support of Belarusian people. Common Ukrainians love you very much and strongly count on understanding in hard times, come to the Maydan, stay with us for couple hours”,
The opposition tabled a motion of no-confidence against the current government. As hundreds of thousands of demonstrators protested outside the parliament building. the motion was defeated as 186 members voted in favour of motion. This is 40 votes short of being passed.
Ruslana has shared this video on her official social media. It is her addressing the thousands of demonstrators in Kyiv and the Ukrainian diaspora around the world – asking them for their support.
The British Times has even reported on how Ruslana has been at the forefront of the demonstrations saying
“On the hour, every hour when she is in Independence Square, the winner of the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest has been up on stage belting out the Ukrainian national anthem to the shivering crowds. It is, Ruslana said last night, her way of reminding them that their protest becomes more powerful with every hour they occupy the heart of the city.”
What next is the question? Ruslana has been speaking to global media agencies just a few hours ago clarifying why she and the protesters have been demonstrating.
Author/Website co-founder and Editor in Chief Garrett Mulhall
Source : BBC, The Times, Charter97.Org and Eurovision Ireland