09:37 30 Nov 2021

8 years ago, Berkut special unit forcibly dispersed students at Euromaidan

On the night of November 30 in Kyiv, on Independence Square, a special unit of Berkut violently dispersed students protesting against the government's decision to suspend preparations for the Association Agreement with the European Union.

Up to 400 protesters were on Maidan Nezalezhnosti Square that night.

Even before 4 o'clock in the morning, elements of the Christmas tree were delivered by trucks to the main square of Kyiv and Ukraine. At the same time, police detachments (up to 2,000 people) surrounded the activists; some of them, tired, dozing, others warming themselves by the fire, someone singing songs.

This force special operation was called quite prosaically: "clearing the area for the installation of a Christmas tree."

Videos posted on the Internet showed Berkut pushing people out from under the Independence Monument, beating them with batons and kicks. Some continued to be beaten even after they fell.

For many, the only refuge was the St. Michael's Monastery, which opened its doors that night to many persecuted.

At least 79 people were injured as a result of the actions of the Berkut special unit. Police detained 35 people but later released them. Two criminal proceedings were opened against the protesters, under the articles "resistance to the authorities" and "hooliganism." The Ministry of Internal Affairs explained the dispersal of the protesters by provocations on their part. The then leadership of the state dissociated itself from the actions of the security forces; no one was punished, no investigation was launched.

The events of November 30 were a turning point in the Ukrainian protests of late 2013, shifting the focus of the protests from pro-European to anti-government.

The next day, December 1, 2013, one of the most crowded rallies took place in Kyiv, which gave impetus to the further escalation of the confrontation between Ukrainians and the authorities.

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