Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The tents are still by the administration: the court ordered PORA campaign and its leader Oleh Radiychuk to unblock access to the building, but a hundred or so people there said today they were ordinary, private, citizens, not PORA members, so the court order didn't concern them, and they'd only leave when the newly elected, legitimate president of Ukraine came to take office. That was smart.

I walked inside the Khreshchatyk tent city today, getting used to my new camera (still can't download anything from it but am no longer so upset about it). Everyone's friendly, eager to be photographed, energetic and cheerful; the small tents look deserted and the big tents are warm (one of the boys invited me into a cafeteria tent); there's also an open-air place where you can have decaf coffee and snacks, and an open-air kitchen (the girls there were preparing dinner when I walked by - they were peeling orange carrots and started posing for a picture as soon as I paused!..). I even saw a relatively big dog near one of the tents - it was wrapped in blankets and asleep by a tent of its own, a doghouse...

Around 4 pm, I saw a group of 20-30 guys lined up by one of the big tents - their leader was telling them when and in what order they were supposed to go wash themselves (I wonder where... should ask tomorrow), and other disciplinary stuff; at some point he said something I didn't hear and then added, And if someone misbehaves, he'll be sent straight back to Kharkiv. He sounded like he meant it. I looked at one of the big tents nearby - and noticed the word "Kharkiv" written on it. This is how well-organized everything is.

Actually, for an outsider, the tent city feels like both like a tourist camp and a boot camp, fun mixed with order.

I'm running to Maidan now, probably too late to hear Yushchenko speak live...

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