Protests in Ukraine continued on Sunday, as hundreds of thousands reportedly gathered in the center of the capital of Kiev.  One group of protesters pulled down a statue of Vladimir Lenin.

From the LA Times:

Protesters toppled a monument to Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin on Sunday during the biggest march and rally in central Kiev since President Viktor Yanukovich galvanized his opposition by turning down a trade deal with the European Union.

The Ukrainian protesters blocked and barricaded government offices and said they were giving Yanukovich 48 hours to disband his government before they would march on his country residence near Kiev.

In turning down the trade deal with the EU, Yanukovich was effectively asserting that Russia remained Ukraine’s key trade partner. The country is politically and geographically divided, to some extent, between those who favor ties to Russia and those who would like to see Ukraine more aligned with Western Europe.

That gave the toppling of the Lenin statue particular significance — despite the fact that most Lenin statues in Russia itself were torn down during the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Statues of the Soviet leader were once ubiquitous throughout the East bloc.

No police officers could be seen anywhere in the vicinity of Taras Shevchenko boulevard where the granite and marble monument was brought down by a group of young protesters.

“It is amazing how the authorities allowed Lenin to go down!” said Sergei Andriyenko, a 51-year-old Kiev businessman who applauded the action. “Where were the police, where were the communists who were always protecting him?”

I have to admit, I didn’t immediately post the first reports of the statue’s toppling, as there have been many fake reports and photos circulating on social media in recent days alleging similar claims, making it difficult to know what’s true and not.  But Reuters reported today that one of its reporters was on the scene this time.

A Reuters reporter at the scene saw the protesters breaking up the statue with hammers after toppling it with the help of metal bars and rope. The move came after an anti-government rally in Kiev attended by hundreds of thousands of people.

Business Insider gathered a collection of photos of the action, and there is additional video available here.

As we’ve reported here at Legal Insurrection, the protests have rattled Ukraine ever since its president backed out of signing an association agreement with the European Union.  The protests, also encouraged by opposition leaders, have since expanded into anti-government sentiment.

(Featured image credit: AP video screen shot via USA Today)


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