Ukrainian protests alive with the sound of music

BY Justin Scuiletti  February 10, 2014 at 6:24 PM EST
A Ukrainian artist plays the piano set on the anti-government opposition barricade in Kiev during a concert organized for the activists and for the policemen on February 10, 2014. Photo by AFP/Sergei Supinksy

A Ukrainian artist plays a piano set on the anti-government opposition barricade in Kiev during a concert organized for activists and policemen on Feb. 10, 2014. Photo by AFP/Sergei Supinksy

Some activists in Kiev, Ukraine decided to air their protests toward the government Monday through the power of piano.

The blue and yellow instrument — the same colors as Ukraine’s flag — sits atop an anti-government barricade on Grushevsky Street, the scene of deadly January clashes between police and protesters. With riot police standing on the other side of the barrier, demonstrators took to the platform and tickled the ivories for piano arrangements of Frédéric Chopin, the Beatles’ “Let It Be” and “Shche ne vmerla Ukraina” — Ukraine’s national anthem which translates to “Ukraine Has Not Yet Died.”

The AFP reports that similar concerts were organized across nine other Ukrainian cities Monday. In Kiev, riot police attempted to stage their own musical rebuttal, blasting Russian pop songs from their side of the barricade.

The piano performances were not the protests’ first. A masked man in combat gear, dubbed the Piano-Extremist, has given several impromptu concerts to protesters outside City Hall in Kiev.

“The piano has become the symbol of the revolution, of peaceful resistance,” Markiyan Matsekh, an activist who initiated the musical campaign, told the AFP. “There are different opinions in our country and we must unite around sure-fire values such as art.”

Protests have been ongoing in Ukraine since early December, when the country refused a trade agreement with the European Union.