Ukrainian demonstrators make Kiev mayor's office their home

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 December, 2013, 10:03pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 December, 2013, 4:27am

Inside the Kiev mayor's office, a group of protesters prepared food, while doctors treated the wounded and several young activists lay sprawled asleep on the floor.

The words "Revolution Headquarters" have been spraypainted in black across the building, one of several in the centre of the Ukraine capital that have been taken over by protesters.

They occupied the mayor's office on Sunday after more than 100,000 people gathered to vent their fury at President Viktor Yanukovych's decision to scrap a deal with the European Union in favour of closer relations with Russia.

"This is a place to have a rest, to eat and to get your strength back," said Pyotr, a 17-year-old with dark circles round his eyes.

Tatyana, 55, had come with her 16-year-old daughter, Yulia, who was playing truant from school.

Sitting at the entrance to the building on Monday, the two women were making placards for the demonstrators and writing down the contact details of volunteers.

"People are signing up. They are offering their services," said Tatyana, saying that she had drawn up a list of 1,000 people's contact details, including doctors.

"We need to change things. I can't go to work or stay at home, it's impossible!" she said, adding that she felt "ashamed" of Yanukovych.

Some protesters had travelled from other Ukrainian cities, such as Vassen, 30, who had arrived western Ukraine.

"I came to change things and make them better," he said, visibly exhausted after spending the night on Independence Square.

In the main room of the mayor's office, dozens of activists slept on the floor while doctors tended to the wounded.

"With all this tear gas, a lot of them are complaining of sore eyes," said Vladimir, an anaesthetist who was working as a volunteer. "Today is my rest day at the hospital, but maybe tomorrow I'll take a day off or even maybe two to come back here."