KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — The towering fleece hats and elaborate beards of Ukraine’s 16th-century Cossacks are favored by many of the demonstrators on Kiev’s main square, who have camped out in anti-government protests for nearly two months.
When events turned violent this week, demonstrators’ weapons also had an antique aura and clashes resembled a Medieval assault.
ARMED TO THE TEETH
Protesters have armed themselves like Crusaders with plywood shields, often painted with a cross, against the stun grenades and rubber bullets from police lines. They broke up the pavement on nearby streets and squares, lobbing the chunks toward the police.
They also hurled firebombs, firecrackers and fireworks at riot police officers, many of whom were injured when firebombs spilled burning fuel on their uniforms and helmets. Meanwhile, pro-opposition websites have alleged that the police are wrapping their stun grenades with nails and pieces of metal in order to inflict injuries.
Many protesters are protecting their heads with helmets and even colanders. One man came in Medieval battle armor, and another fashioned himself a bow and arrow for the fight. One group of men made a massive catapult from boards to pelt firebombs a longer distance; when it was burned down in a police attack, they rebuilt it the next day.[Read more]