Pro-European integration protesters take cover behind shields during clashes with Ukrainian riot police in Kiev January 20, 2014. Protesters attacked riot police with sticks in Kiev on Sunday and tried to overturn a bus blocking their path to parliament, as up to 100,000 Ukrainians massed in defiance of sweeping new laws aimed at stamping out anti-government demonstrations. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW) - RTX17LZQ

The Weapons of Ukraine’s Protesters

The government's new laws are medieval, and so are Euromaidan's weapons

Protesters in Ukraine have been at it for three months, and had to face subzero temperatures over the weekend, but that hasn’t stopped them from finding inventive ways to battle the police.

“On paper, Ukraine is now a dictatorship,” writes Yale professor Timothy Snyder, referring to the new laws passed by the parliament aimed at centralizing President Viktor Yanukovych’s power and disbanding the Euromaidan protests that have filled Kiev’s streets since November.

If it all sounds a bit medieval, that’s also reflected in the tools demonstrators used the last few days: sticks and stones and wooden shields versus the tear gas and water cannons sprayed by riot police. It’s like a recreation of Braveheart, built in a DIY store.

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A pro-European integration protester uses a slingshot during clashes with police in Kiev January 20, 2014. Protesters clashed with riot police in the Ukrainian capital on Sunday after tough anti-protest legislation, which the political opposition says paves the way for a police state, was rushed through parliament last week.  REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko  (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTX17MT0
(Reuters)

This protester takes aim at his target with a slingshot—setting up a modern-day David versus Goliath showdown in Kiev. You have to admire his tenacity in the face of Ukraine’s emboldened and armed-to-the-teeth riot police.

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A pro-European integration protester carries a Molotov cocktail during clashes with police in Kiev January 20, 2014. Protesters clashed with riot police in the Ukrainian capital after tough anti-protest legislation, which the political opposition says paves the way for a police state, was rushed through parliament last week.  REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko  (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTX17MR4
(Reuters)

The Molotov cocktail, a simple but effective poor man’s grenade, is a staple of the grassroots arsenal of some protesters.

Protesters protect themselves as they clash with riot police on January 19, 2014 during an opposition rally in the centre of the Ukrainian capital Kiev in a show of defiance against strict new curbs on protests. 200,000 protesters expressed frustration over the lack of a clear programme from the opposition leaders after almost two months of protests over the government's ditching of a pact with the EU under Russian pressure. Ukrainian police used tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon in a bid to disperse the hundreds of people who sought to storm police cordons near the Verkhovna Rada parliament in the capital. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV        (Photo credit should read GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)
(AFP/Getty Images)

Of the hundreds of thousands of protesters in Kiev, one group broke off and attempted to storm the parliament in open defiance of new, stringent anti-protest laws. Shields bearing crosses protect protesters from stun grenades lobby by the riot police.

Pro-European integration protesters take cover behind shields during clashes with Ukrainian riot police in Kiev January 20, 2014. Protesters attacked riot police with sticks in Kiev on Sunday and tried to overturn a bus blocking their path to parliament, as up to 100,000 Ukrainians massed in defiance of sweeping new laws aimed at stamping out anti-government demonstrations. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW) - RTX17LZQ
(Reuters)

Protesters also “used the charred shells of police vans” that were burned in the riots both as shields and to make barricades.

Protesters clash with police on January 19, 2014 during an opposition rally in the centre of the Ukrainian capital Kiev in a show of defiance against strict new curbs on protests. 200,000 protesters expressed frustration over the lack of a clear programme from the opposition leaders after almost two months of protests over the government's ditching of a pact with the EU under Russian pressure. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY        (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
(AFP/Getty Images)

They don’t look like much, but Gazeta.ru reported that 40 cops were hospitalized and 70 were wounded by this makeshift band of protesters.

A protester throws a brick as protesters clash with police during an opposition rally on January 19, 2014 in the centre of the Ukrainian capital Kiev in a show of defiance against strict new curbs on protests. 200,000 protesters expressed frustration over the lack of a clear programme from the opposition leaders after almost two months of protests over the government's ditching of a pact with the EU under Russian pressure. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY        (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
(AFP/Getty Images)

Brick-hurling, thus far, is not listed as an Olympic event at next month’s games in Sochi, Russia. This protester gets extra points for his old-school forearm guard.

Pro-European integration protesters clash with Ukranian riot police during a rally near government administration buildings in Kiev January 19, 2014. Protesters attacked riot police with sticks in Kiev on Sunday and tried to overturn a bus blocking their path to parliament, as up to 100,000 Ukrainians massed in defiance of sweeping new laws aimed at stamping out anti-government demonstrations. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich (UKRAINE - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW POLITICS) - RTX17LCM
(Reuters)

Sticks are useful, but some protesters showed some flair by launching fireworks at the police. The chaos was overwhelming: Even though he’s an opposition leader who supports the demonstrations, former boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko was himself nailed with spray from a fire extinguisher by a protester when he tried to calm the crowds.

Ukrainian riot police reacts after being hit by a petrol bomb during clashes with pro-European integration protesters in Kiev January 19, 2014.  Protesters clashed with riot police in the Ukrainian capital on Sunday after tough anti-protest legislation, which the political opposition says paves the way for a police state, was rushed through parliament last week.  REUTERS/Stringer (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX17LW7
(Reuters)

Petrol bombs were also thrown—the fights have intensified to the point that Klitschko doesn’t “rule out the possibility of a civil war.” President Yanukovych said Monday that he is assembling a commission to try and reach an agreement to appease all parties, but given his track record, and the passion of these protesters, the situation doesn’t look like it will be resolved anytime soon.

Pro-European integration protesters build a catapult to throw stones during clashes with police in Kiev January 20, 2014. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich named a top aide to organize peace talks with the opposition after violent clashes between police and protesters in Kiev, but the opposition warned him on Monday not to play for time. With tension still high, about 1,000 protesters confronted police on Monday near Kiev's main government headquarters and hurled projectiles.   REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko  (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTX17MY7
(Reuters)

Enter the trebuchet, a catapult from the Middle Ages: a short-range answer to a long-term problem.

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  • A good example of protest coming to the United States of America soon, against the Federal Mafia.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Oh please. We are lucky we don’t have to resort to this. 

      1 Reply - Reply Now
      • we will very soon

  • your subtle mockery is disgusting. At least these warriors have the heart and balls to fight for freedom. you might find yourself eyeing a 2×4 and trash can lid if things deteriorate more in the west.

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Activists of the Right Sector movement and their supporters gather outside the parliament building to demand the immediate resignation of Internal Affairs Minister Arsen Avakov, in Kiev March 27, 2014. A prominent Ukrainian far-right activist, part of a hard-line nationalist movement that played a leading role in the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovich, was shot dead by police overnight, authorities said on March 25. The Interior Ministry said Oleksander Muzychko, also known as Sashko Bily, was killed by officers of the 'Sokol' special unit as he tried to escape from a cafe in the western Ukrainian region of Rivne. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR3IWHV
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