KYIV, Ukraine — Ihor Kostiantynovych never thought he’d live to see the day.
But on Sunday night, the weathered, 78-year-old stood dumbfounded and overcome with emotion, staring at the empty pedestal in central Kyiv where a statue of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin stood before it was toppled by anti-government protesters.
“There’s nothing left of him,” he said. “And thank god.”
For more than two weeks, pro-European demonstrators have rallied in Ukraine’s capital by the thousands, calling for the government’s ouster over its abandonment of key deals with the EU in favor of closer ties with Russia.
On Sunday, hundreds of thousands rallied in the largest protest yet.
The demonstrations have spawned an array of trademarks: the moniker “YevroMaidan” (EuroSqaure), lapel ribbons that blend the Ukrainian and European flags, and chants — such as “Away with the gang!” — which are shouted rapturously on the streets and in the subway.
But after nationalist protesters dragged the marble statue down with a steel cable and bashed it to bits with sledgehammers on Sunday night, the uprising may have finally acquired its most vivid image.
Elated crowds rallied around the bare mantle, erupting into renditions of Ukraine’s national anthem. Passing cars feverishly honked in support. Protesters called their friends and loved ones with the momentous news.
“Hi Mom,” said one. “Tell grandma that Lenin has fallen.”
Ukraine: Goodbye Lenin!
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Photo by AFP/Getty Images
I can’t have confidence in a state that’s beaten innocent people.
GlobalPost’s Dan Peleschuk visited the Ukraine protests’ base of operations in Kyiv.
By Tuesday evening, anti-government demonstrators effectively controlled much of downtown Kyiv and forced the partial closure of Kreshchatyk, the city’s main street.
They continued to occupy several key administrative buildings, including city hall — the site of a makeshift “revolutionary headquarters” where volunteers distribute food, warm clothing and medicine to fellow protesters.
Around-the-clock demonstrators have also erected barricades around Independence Square — the nucleus of the Orange Revolution as well as the current protests — while others roam freely around the streets housing most of the central government’s main buildings.
Several thousand gathered outside parliament during Tuesday’s session, some huddled around parked cars listening to a live feed of the proceedings.
On Independence Square, trash-barrel fires and army-green tents erected to provide warmth for protesters are lending a revolutionary feel to this bustling and brightly lit former city.
Graffiti have appeared on walls and sidewalks, some reading “Away with Yanukovych” and “Revolution.”
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BANGKOK, Thailand — By the dozens, they charge headlong at police ramparts built of concrete and razor wire. And by the dozens they are repelled, wet and stumbling, eyes blinded by stinging tear gas clouds and clothes soaked by water cannons.
They are the foot soldiers of a movement to overthrow Thailand’s elected leaders and install an unelected politburo-style council of wise, virtuous rulers. Its backers — who deride the government as corrupt to the roots — call it a “people’s council” that can cleanse Thailand of dirty politics. Key ministers from the ruling party, popularly elected in 2011, call it something more radical: a coup attempt.
“What they’re proposing will not lead to a peaceful end,” said Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang of the ruling Pheu Thai party. If successful, the protest movement will have enacted a “different type of coup,” he said. “That can only be done by tearing up the constitution and rewriting the whole thing.”
Molotovs and monitor lizards on the front lines of Thai ‘coup’
Photos by AFP/Getty Images
Zombies in the Philippines? Eyeballs in Hungary?
Greenpeace truly is the master at getting the world’s attention
Photos via AFP/Getty Images
If there’s a rock star of the international nonviolent protest movement, it’s Srdja Popovic.
Foreign Policy named the 40-year-old Serbian one of its top global thinkers in 2011. Wired UK has called him one of the 50 people who will change the world. He’s a member of the Forum of Young Global Leaders at the World Economic Forum and, of course, a TED speaker.
SAO PAULO, Brazil — Dernival Albuquerque pins pictures of Mickey Mouse on the plywood wall above his thin mattress, and scribbles the iconic mouse ears in the corners of his ramshackle room.
Why the Mickey fetish?
“He’s just so … perfect,” said Albuquerque, 18, known to everyone as “Drix.”
The squeaky-clean cartoon may seem an odd emblem for a self-professed teenage rebel, who said he joined the first wave of massive street protests that rocked Brazil earlier this year.
But the young man’s predilection for perfection makes some sense, considering his surroundings. Perfection isn’t something Drix gets to see much.
His family shares a tiny apartment on an alley in one of the rougher areas of the Paraisopolis favela, or slum, in Sao Paulo.
A few weeks ago, his best friend, 17-year-old Silvana Silva, showed up. She’d been kicked out of her parents’ home. Now she shares his room, sleeping on an old piece of foam in one corner.
At night, they can hear rats scurrying around on the tin roof.
Despite Brazil’s boasted low unemployment and more than a decade of economic boom times, this country’s crowded, expensive megacities remain harsh places for the young and under-qualified.
Teenage rebellion, on a Brazilian budget
Photo by AFP/Getty Images
The specter of militant attacks now looms large over Egypt’s political scene. The interim president, Adly Mansour, insists that officials are closely following a political path that will end in fresh parliamentary and presidential elections early next year.
But the ongoing political transition has been underpinned by the broad use of violence and repression against the opposition, which has exacerbated polarization between supporters and opponents of the military takeover. The leadership of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, once a powerful political force, is now mostly behind bars. Hundreds of the former president’s supporters have been killed and thousands detained.
On Tuesday night, multiple media outlets citing anonymous US officials reported that the US will soon suspend most of its military aid to Egypt in the wake of the country’s persistent turmoil. A spokeswoman for the National Security Council, however, denied the reports.
The crackdown is being portrayed as a war on terror, with Egypt’s military-backed authorities drawing an explicit link between the Brotherhood’s Islamist ideology and the country’s rising insurgency.
Egypt’s ‘war on terror’ throwing political transition off course
Photo by AFP/Getty Images
Teachers’ march in Brazil
Thousands marched in Rio de Janeiro to support teachers seeking pay hikes before masked anarchists turned to violence, setting fires, breaking into buildings and smashing a City Hall gate. (AFP)
Click to see a full slide show of the protest on Yahoo News
Greece’s prime minister on Thursday vowed to rein in the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party after the murder of an anti-fascist singer by one of its supporters sparked nationwide outrage.
"This government is determined not to allow the descendants of the Nazis to poison our social life, to commit crimes, terrorize and undermine the foundations of the country that gave birth to democracy," Antonis Samaras said in a televised address.
PHOTOS: Greek anti-fascists protest neo-Nazi murder in fiery clashes
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