Bloody Maidan: Chronicle of the Confrontation
On February 18, protesters planned a peaceful march to Parliament to once again remind the MPs of their demands. However, on the opposite side protected by security forces in Mariyinsky Park, next to the Parliament, a group of militant men gathered at a pro-government rally.
Interior Ministry troops stopped the Maidan participants’ march, and then after 9 a.m. clashes started. The protesters managed to break through the cordon of security forces and tried to block Hrushevskoho Street. The troops used weapons against the protesters, which led to numerous injuries and deaths.
Protesters organized a hospital in the Officer's Building. Here a memorial service for the first three victims of the day was held. As soon as the service was over, Berkut began an offensive and security forces stormed the building.
More security forces moved to attack the Maidan. Kyiv’s metro stopped running, the city was paralyzed, ambulances were rarely allowed to reach the injured. The death toll rose.
A group of protesters, who were escaping from the Berkut, hid behind the walls of the Roman Catholic St. Alexander’s Cathedral and the priests closed doors to the security forces who tried to break into the church.
Berkut and internal troops came close to the barricades on the Maidan. Maidan activists called on all to pray. A lot of women and children are on the Maidan, and are being evacuated. The churches are ringing their bell, prayers are heard from the main stage on the Maidan.
During the offensive by the security forces from Instytutska Street, they set on fire the interreligious chapel, which had been in operation near the Maidan. Later, it completely burned down.
The Berkut, according to the protesters, were responsible for the fire in the House of Trade Unions, where among other things a field hospital operated. The hospital had to be moved to another location. Again, St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery took in the protesters. There they organized a field hospital and started attending to the wounded. People in serious condition were sent to intensive care units. Priests persuaded the security forces not to storm the monastery.
Other churches also took in the wounded. On social networks information spread that a militant group of young men were going after the wounded from the Maidan and tried to break into churches, where they were hiding. Most of the information was later disproved, but they were not entirely unfounded.
The night of February 19 was violent. Security forces have made several unsuccessful attempts to disperse the Maidan, but they did manage to recapture a significant portion of it.
On Facebook religious publicist Tatiana Derkach initiated a public petition to Metropolitan Volodymyr and the Synod of the UOC-MP to excommunicate Viktor Yanukovych from the church.
Pope Francis has been closely monitoring the situation in Kyiv, and has called for a stop the bloodshed. “With a worried soul I have been following what is happening in Kiev in these days,” he said, as he called on “all parties to cease all violence and to seek harmony and peace in the country.”