MOSCOW, February 24 (RIA Novosti) – City workers in Ukraine’s capital were to begin dismantling barricades Monday erected by protestors during demonstrations that led to the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, a local official said.
“On Monday we will start to clean up Kiev, to remove the barricades, but of course this must be negotiated with the citizens who built them,” said Kiev Mayor Volodymyr Makeyenko. “We will move step by step, because it’s time to gather stones.”
Street protests in Kiev began in November following a government decision to back away from closer ties with the EU. The city’s central Independence Square has for months been occupied by demonstrators, who have erected tents serving as sleeping quarters and food distribution points in the space.
With the degeneration of what had largely been a peaceful rally into major violent clashes between radical protesters and police, hundreds of car tires and varied debris were set alight to form fiery barricades, transforming the area around the square into an ash-strewn wasteland.
Rioters also ripped up cobblestones to use as projectiles against riot police.
The Kiev subway system began operating normally Monday, according to transportation officials.
“All stations are open for passengers and the trains are moving according to schedule,” the metro operator said in a statement.
The subway was closed on February 18 amid alleged terrorist threats at the height of the street unrest.
The country’s political scene remains in a state of flux following parliament’s decision Saturday to impeach President Viktor Yanukovych.
A tentative deal mediated by the EU and Russia between Yanukovych and the protestors was reached Friday, but fell apart by the following day, when parliament voted to rule the president incapable of fulfilling his constitutional duties.
Yanukovych, who fled the capital, called the move a coup and compared it to the rise of the Nazis to power in Germany in the 1930s.
Fighting between protestors and police last week claimed around 100 lives.