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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Clean Saturday

The Maidan marked the coming of spring with a big cleanup
6 March, 2014 - 10:55

On March 1 thousands of Kyiv residents and visitors came to clean up this country’s main square. The city’s public utility authorities supported this action. They partially equipped volunteers with appliances and carried garbage to dumps. Some activists came individually, some in groups. Even a Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant team arrived to clean up the Maidan and the adjacent streets. The team members said they had been very much concerned about the Kyiv events and decided to be involved in them at least in this way.

Nadia, a Kyivite, also formed a team of activists from among her friends and colleagues. “We would like to clear Kyiv, the city where I was born, of at least physical dirt,” beginning with actively sweeping the asphalt on Independence Square, the woman says.

As for Iryna, also a Kyivite, she came on her own. She raked last year’s dead leaves in Khreshchaty Park, near the Museum of Water. The woman had been a Maidan volunteer, and now she decided to help the revolution in this way. “We can clear all the garbage and renovate all the ruined buildings. A better life is worth the effort,” Iryna says.

It is mum who brought the 9-year-old Zhora to the clean-up site. “I watch with interest what is going on and would like to take part in these events,” says the little activist. As mum was bagging garbage, Zhora was scraping earth with a piece of plywood from tiles near the entrance to Dynamo Stadium.

The Maidan protesters approve of this voluntary effort. “We are also doing a cleanup,” Taras from the 10th Sotnia smiles. “Otherwise, you couldn’t see us through the trash.”

On Saturday, the volunteers were cleaning Independence Square, Mariinsky Park, Hrushevsky and Instytutska streets. The governmental compound had been cleared of garbage a week ago. Stage speakers called on the activists to consult coordinators and public utility people, clear household garbage only. They told them to come to the barricades only with Self-Defense representatives and, if possible, not to touch anything there.

On the eve of that Saturday, some human rights advocates and lawyers had called for postponing the cleaning because the city center is a scene of a hostilities and crime scene, where experts are supposed to work. Oleksandra Matviichuk, coordinator of Euromaidan SOS, a unit that is searching for the missing activists and offers legal and other assistance to Maidan sufferers, is concerned about why investigation has not yet begun in the places of the fiercest and bloodiest battles. “Our group opposed the clean-up effort, although we know that material evidence may have been destroyed almost two weeks after those events as a result of not only a cleanup, but also of a large number of people on the spot. We have asked the Interior Ministry why the battles are still not being investigated, but they said it was too early to do so.”

By Anastasia FEDCHENKO. Photos by Borys KORPUSENKO