Yulia Tymoshenko's trial has started with two rallies on Khreshchatyk today: her supporters were a lot more numerous than her opponents. The latter seemed piled together with the former somewhere on the other side of Khreshchatyk by the building of the court, and I have failed to identify them visually when I crossed the street, even though I knew they were there because of the peculiar music - the so-called chanson - that they played very loudly, to block the sound of the pro-Yulia rally.
Many elderly people were out there today, and Yulia's buddy Turchynov even tried to make a joke, saying that these pensioners were ready for a rebellion. I felt pity for them, because they had to stand for hours in the sun, and no one had thought of supplying them with free drinking water (I do think they should have, whoever organized this rally), and then there was a really wild thunderstorm, and they probably had nowhere to hide from it - or had to run for shelter, which isn't easy for people their age. Anyway, their lives are tough in general, this rally isn't a picnic either - but they are tough, too, so the rally continues, despite crazy weather.
Below are some photos - and maybe I'll have enough for Part 2 later today. It's been a long time for me since the last rally I took pictures at, so I find it really interesting.
I've added 15 more pictures and a tiny video to today's set.
The post-rain part of the pro-Yulia rally was a depressing sight.
Tons of garbage everywhere; some of the protesters who were still there looked exhausted and demoralized; a few, however, still oozed with naive enthusiasm.
Two old men from the opposing camps got into an argument, which later evolved into a very brief fight, but a man who looked like one of the rally's organizers got involved and had them calm down:
One of the protesters next to me talked to someone who had been inside the court building: it was terribly hot in there, he said, a small room with a hundred people in it, everyone sweating like crazy.
Someone praised the protesters from the stage, noting that they were heroes - and indeed, they were, for it was already 3 PM and they had been on Khreshchatyk for nine hours by then, since 6 AM. It's 4:30 PM now, and they're still playing music, chanting and making speeches out there, though I've no idea if anyone's still left. I guess they are waiting for Yulia to get out of the courthouse.
On my way to the other side of Khreshchatyk, I noticed these elderly women selling flowers and berries:
They had nothing to do with the rally, or with politics in general, they were the near-Besarabka regulars - but what struck me was that they could've easily been part of the rally crowd - they seemed to fit in perfectly, at least visually. And this observation is what I'll probably remember best from today.
This, and the drunk man asleep in the sandbox at our playground...