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May 2, 2014

May Day protest turns fiery in Ukraine

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In May 1 ‘May Day’ protests, large numbers of pro-Russian demonstrators in the city of Donetsk forced the well-equipped Ukrainian riot police to retreat into the last government building that still shows loyalty to the Ukrainian government.

The protesters then began to attack the building, first throwing rocks, then petrol bombs in what appeared to be an attempt to burn it down. These efforts forced the police into a courtyard, where they huddled behind their shields to protect themselves from the hail of rocks and paving stones being thrown at them.

However, even this final defense fell as the mob entered the compound, stripped the police of their shields, helmets and protective vests, then frog-marched them away.

Police resistance had proved futile, the only effect, to let weapons and equipment fall into the hands of their enemies. They’re unlikely to try it again.


Warm up questions
  1. Where is Ukraine?
  2. If protesters are being peaceful, what should the response of the police be? Explain your answer.
  3. If protesters are violent towards the police, should they retaliate? Explain your answer.
Discussion questions
  1. What were people protesting about? What do you think their intentions and goals were?
  2. Should the police have handled the situation differently? Explain your answer.
  3. Should other countries get involved in this local fight? Why or why not?
Writing prompt

When is using violence against another person justified? In the riot that took place in Donetsk, who is responsible for the violence? Think of examples of peaceful protest and violent protests. Which ones were more effective in achieving their goals? Which method would you use if you were protesting something important to you and why?

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