Thursday, November 24, 2005

I haven't been there yet, but, according to Gazeta po-Kiyevski (in Russian), they've opened Bankova for pedestrians - thanks to the Pora party activists, it seems.

On Monday, I stumbled on a news item that said Pora was planning to re-establish free access to Bankova by sawing off the shameful iron gates. The show was scheduled for 2 pm, and there was no way for me to make it there in ten minutes, with the slippery hills and all. There seemed to be no follow-up on it in any of the media afterwards, so I assumed that nothing important had taken place.

Yesterday, I found the story in Gazeta po-Kiyevski: on Monday, there were three rows of riot police and one row of regular cops guarding the gates on Bankova, ready to fight Pora activists if the order came. One of the riot police guys told the reporters that he hadn't quite expected to be standing there again, a year after Maidan.

Then Oleg Rybachuk, head of Yushchenko's Secretariat, showed up:

I saw all this police here and decided to see what's happened! [...] We didn't order to put up this fence, Kyivrada [Kyiv City Council] did! The fence is an anti-Yushchenko symbol! [...] I suggested to the president to take it down and he agreed!

Rybachuk ordered to open the gates, and when a hundred or so Pora activists got to Bankova from Maidan, there seemed to be no reason for them to be there anymore.

Rybachuk then made the following promise:

The gate is open. It will always stay open, except for the days when diplomatic events are being held here!

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