Ukraine woman's plea for democracy goes viral amid deadly protests
At least 70 people are reported dead in the latest clashes in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev. The number comes from a medical coordinator for the protesters.
Video on Ukrainian TV shows protesters being cut down by gunfire, then lying on the pavement as fellow demonstrators rush to their aid. Teams of protesters are seen carrying bodies away on sheets of plastic or on planks of wood. Protesters are also seen leading policemen with their hands held high around the sprawling protest camp in central Kiev.
Ukrainian officials say 67 police were captured.
President Barack Obama says the U.S. is outraged by violence in Ukraine and is urging President Viktor Yanukovych to withdraw forces from downtown Kiev immediately.
Obama says the U.S. urges Ukraine's military not to get involved in a conflict that must be resolved politically. He's expressing outrage about images of Ukrainian security forces firing automatic guns on Ukrainian people.
Obama says in a statement that Ukraine should respect the right of protest and that protesters must be peaceful. He's calling for dialogue to reduce tensions and address the people's grievances.
Meantime, a young woman in Ukraine has made a daring plea to the world from behind the protest lines in the country's capital. Her video has gone viral.
"I am a Ukrainian, a native of Kiev. I want you to know why thousands of people all over my country are on the streets," the 25-year-old explained in a two-minute video that has become an internet sensation bringing attention to a violent struggle playing out on an international stage.
"She is a 25 year-old citizen of Kiev, married, who cares deeply about her country," said Ben Moses, who made the video.
Her name is not being revealed because she fears retribution.
Ben Moses met the woman when he was making another film, "A Whisper to a Roar." In it, Ukraine is one of several struggles for democracy profiled. The award-winning and long-time Los Angeles-based documentarian never saw a reaction like this.
"I sent it to my friends and said, 'Take a look at this. This woman really cares about her country and really explains why people are on the streets and BOOM!'" said Moses.
Ukraine has been descending into darkness for weeks now, marked by an aggressive government response toward its own citizens demanding the very basics.
"I want these people who are here who have dignity, who are brave, I want them to live a normal life. We are civilized people but our government are barbarians. This is not the Soviet Union. We want our courts not to be corrupted. We want to be free," she said.
Her video is highlighting the power of the individual and social media. Despite how complex, violent and distant the struggle might seem, in our data overloaded world somehow the message breaks through.
"It's all about this woman. She has a spirit a caring a deep caring about her people and her country and when you meet her this far away it just radiates," said Moses.
"We have this freedom inside our hearts. We have this freedom in our minds and now I ask you to build this freedom in our country," she pleaded.