January 21, 2014
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass riot.”
This was the message received by mobile phone-users present near the scene of violent clashes in Kiev early on Tuesday morning, in what appeared to be a novel attempt by authorities to quell the protests that have swept through the city and turned violent on Sunday night.
The language echoed the wording of tough new laws on public gatherings, the passing of which served as a spark for the radicalisation of the protest movement over the weekend. The laws went into effect on Tuesday, and provide for jail sentences of up to 15 years for participating in mass riots.