Why did Ukraine’s Euromaidan protests begin?

In 2013, Ukrainians came out to the streets for peaceful protest after President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign an agreement that would have led to Ukraine’s integration in the European Union. This led to a massive civil unrest in the country on 21 November 2013 with huge protests in the Independence Square in Kyiv. The effect of the protests intensified with calls for the resignation of the president.

As the protests in Kyiv’s Independence Square, also known as the Maidan, continued into 2014, the government began to take action on the protestors. This accelerated the revolt and turned it into what was called ‘the revolution of dignity’. The protestors in the Maidan risked assault, kidnapping, unlawful arrest, and loss of their jobs. On January 16, the state introduced a wave of repressive laws that severely restricted civil society and their right to protest. On January 22, the first protesters were killed in clashes in Kyiv and over 100 civilian protesters died subsequently, mostly between February 20 and 21.

On February 22, President Yanukovych fled the country and the parliament voted to remove him and hold new elections. On May 25, Ukrainians elected Petro Poroshenko as their president. After the October elections, a new pro-reform coalition government came into power in December 2014.

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