Sotnia Commander Mykola Tokar: The Best Way to Commemorate the Fallen Brethren is by Changing the Authority System

Sotnia Commander Mykola Tokar: The Best Way to Commemorate the Fallen Brethren is by Changing the Authority System
March 31, 2014.

Kyiv, 31 March 2014 – “Today, at the meeting of commanders of sotnias (Ukrainian for squads, typically consisting of 100 men) we are to discuss creating a new Maidan perimeter,” said Mykola Tokar, commander of the Arkada sotnia, during a briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center dedicated to commemorating 40 days since the Maidan shootings on February 20. “Some barricades are no longer necessary, they need to be torn down, with only checkpoints left, to avoid obstructing the traffic. However, I wouldn’t remove the Lviv Gate and the Instytutska barricade,” Mr. Tokar explained.

Participants of the tragic events emphasize that it is important to preserve some elements of the barricades as memorials. “There are shields at the Arkada barricade with the names and the time of death of the fighters written on them. I asked the sotnia commander to keep this perimeter because of the historical significance of the barricade. You could even see bloodstains there until they were washed off by rain. We hadn’t touched anything there until the 20th, and we still don’t let anyone walk there. We keep the fire burning and stay on guard 24 hours a day. The fire we keep at our barricade is the eternal fire of the Heavenly Sotnia,” added Anatoliy Mutyl, one of the members of the Arkada sotnia.

“The best way to commemorate the fallen is by changing the system of power, Mr. Tokar said. –  Ukraine of the future is a free and independent state, with justice and equality for everyone. We want a better life, free of lies. Every day I see the tears of parents and relatives of those who were killed, they come to us and ask us to keep on standing to make sure all those deaths were not in vain. ”

Anatoliy Mutyl had tears in his eyes as he reminisced about the events of February 19 when he was at the barricade next to the monument to the founders of Kyiv: “We were just starting to reinforce the barricade when explosions went off, and then I felt the taste of tear gas. I remember girls bringing water and milk. The flame was really close, but still the guys were singing. The first wounded protester was carried on a shield, because there were no stretchers. It was hard to walk through the heat, ash and wires. I was shocked to see the protesters’ wounds – they were shot in the heart and on the head. The doctors were there all the time, occasionally clearing a passageway through the crowd to carry the wounded. At the end of that night we reinforced the barricades preparing to fend off the assault. Locals brought tires and petrol and mixed Molotov cocktails. Young girls, only about 12 – 15 years of age, – I have no idea how they got there – were scraping powder off sparklers and adding it to the cocktails.”

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