UK & World News
Kiev Protesters In Show Of Determination
Standing by the barricades under the national flag in Independence Square, two men beat out a steady rhythm on an oil drum.
It's bitterly cold, the air thick with wood smoke from the fires all around, and they're watching every face that comes past.
They're looking for undercover police officers, members of the security services, or people they believe are working as government provocateurs.
The authorities have vowed to "act harshly, decisively" to stop the blockades - they don't know when that action will come.
For now the protesters feel they are in control here, and they are determined to stand their ground.
They've built barriers across the roads leading in to the square, rudimentary defences made from pallets, concrete posts and whatever they could find.
Sections of the barricades are lined with the branches of a huge artificial Christmas tree that had been under construction in the centre of the square - city officials tried to claim at first that protecting the tree was the reason they had to forcibly clear the square.
It has become a public symbol of dissent.
What remains of the structure has been draped with Ukrainian flags, homemade posters and caricatures of the president.
This movement started as a reaction to his refusal to sign an EU trade deal last month.
It has evolved into a concerted effort to force Victor Yanukovich and his government out, galvanised by allegations of police brutality against protesters.
The first wave of demonstrations had been dwindling last weekend, when police moved in to retake control of the square in the early hours of Saturday morning.
What happened next brought tens, then hundreds of thousands, back onto the streets in response.
Human Rights Watch accuse police of using "excessive force" against protesters and journalists, beating people, including the elderly, even after they had fallen to the ground.
The NGO said Ukraine was going through "serious civil unrest".
According to the Health Ministry, 248 people have been injured since the protests began, 139 needed hospital treatment.
Near the barricades we found a Ukrainian priest holding a bible and an old soviet gas mask.
He said he was one of 50 men who would join arms and form a human chain if the police came back, to give them time to get the women and children out and do their best to protect the square.
He had added an orthodox cross to the top of their defences.
An old man, sitting with his friends around a fire nearby, raised his fist and shouted: "Until victory, we'll stand until the end!"
The protesters are still occupying several administration buildings, including the mayor's office in the heart of the capital.
We were welcomed in to "Revolution HQ", formerly known as Kiev City Hall, past guards with respirators and helmets on the door.
Inside, a couple of windows have been smashed and the smell is none too fragrant, but otherwise the new system seems to be working well.
Volunteers are handing out food and hot drinks, and distributing donations of warm clothes.
Beneath the chandeliers of the grand, Stalin-era function hall, people are camped out on the floor, sleeping wherever they can on roll mats and blankets, a selection of hard hats strewn around.
They've set up a basic clinic,staffed by shifts of doctors, nurses and medical students.
A poster says a psychologist is on hand.
"If police comes back, people will stand here and protect this building, protect this idea," one young man told us.
"Before, we thought we were just a small group, but now we think we can do this. I hope we can do it," a smartly-dressed female student said.
The authorities have given protesters five days to vacate the building, but they have no intention of moving out and handing it back without a fight.
Leaders of the protest have called for a massive turnout today and are hoping to draw in around a million people. Its size threatens to eclipse earlier rallies in Kiev and western Ukraine that brought several hundred thousand out on the streets on December 1.
In the high street immediately outside occupied City Hall, life is carrying on pretty much as normal.
The Christmas decorations are up, the shops are busy, children were taking turns to ride a fairground carousel.
This movement does not represent all of Ukraine, or even all of Kiev. The country remains deeply divided between East and West.
But the protesters here feel they are gathering momentum - the vast majority are peaceful, but they are determined and they show no sign of backing down.
The question is how long the authorities will allow this to go on.
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