Kiev explodes


Protesters catch fire behind burning barricades during clashes with police on February 20, 2014 in Kiev. (AFP PHOTO/Bulent Kilic)

Protesters catch fire behind burning barricades during clashes with police on February 20, 2014 in Kiev. (AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic)


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AFP photographer Bulent Kilic, usually based in Istanbul, is in Kiev covering the dramatically worsening events in Independence Square. He says it feels as much like a war as it does a protest.




By Bulent Kilic


I arrived late Wednesday night in the middle of Independence Square and saw this barricade. Parts of it were on fire from the Molotov cocktails being hurled between protesters and police.

I saw protesters throwing the petrol bombs, but they were also using some sort of homemade canon – it was made from a long iron tube, a bit like a mortar.

Early on Thursday morning, I saw these three guys burning. I’m not sure how they caught fire – some claimed it was the police who’d thrown the petrol bombs, others said it was the protesters.

(AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic)

(AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic)

The flames were quickly extinguished. It seems like protesters are used to dealing with this type of situation – no one seemed at all shocked. The guy in the background of the photo who is burning the most ran to the back of the barricade where some people took care of him. Protesters continued to build new barricades during the morning.

Protesters stand behind burning barricades during a face-off against police on February 20, 2014 on Independence Square in Kiev. (AFP PHOTO/Bulent Kilic)

Protesters stand behind burning barricades during a face-off against police on February 20, 2014 on Independence Square in Kiev. (AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic)

I’m currently stuck with the protesters, taking cover behind the Ukraine Hotel, which has been converted into a first aid centre for wounded demonstrators. It’s not safe to leave - there are sniper shots ringing out across the square. I know the sound from when I covered the Syria civil war in Aleppo.

To me, it now feels like halfway between a war and a protest. I saw at least six dead protesters, I think they had been shot. I don’t know how it happened.

Demonstrators sit by the bodies of two anti-government protesters killed by a sniper during clashes with the police in the center of Kiev on February 20, 2014. (AFP Photo/Sergei Supinsky)

Demonstrators sit by the bodies of two anti-government protesters killed by a sniper during clashes with the police in the center of Kiev on February 20, 2014. (AFP Photo/Sergei Supinsky)