They tried to bribe our parents and grandparents. They raised their pensions the same day they announced the controversial decree that endangered current anti-corruption efforts. But it didn’t work: they watched our kids and encouraged us while we went out to protest.
They tried to buy off the young businessmen and businesswomen by lowering a tax, but it didn’t work. They donated coffee, tea, sandwiches and warm clothes for the protest. They used their creativity and their printers to make powerful posters and banners so the whole world could see and understand us.
They hoped the cold weather would stop us from staying for hours in Victory Square but it turned out people can’t feel the cold when they are very motivated. It feels like spring when everybody’s singing the anthem.
They tried to scare us and ruin our peaceful protest by sending hooligans with molotov cocktails, but it didn’t work. We isolated them, we kept coming back, with flowers and fruit for the policemen. With our parents or with our children. It’s our protest, not theirs.
They tried to create the impression that the country is divided, that they have popular support. They brought people from other cities, with buses, to protest against the President, to change the subject, to deviate attention. It’s people from small communities, who depend on state money 100%. They either work for the mayor or the school, or they receive social pensions. There are little or no private investments in their cities. These are their voters, desperate people who think the mayor is doing them a favor by giving them pensions. They thought we would hate them and fight with them in the street. But we understand them, we also fight for their right to a decent life. We brought flowers to their protest and we welcome them to ours.
It’s not about the President, the prime minister or a party. It’s not about money. It’s about indecency and lies. It’s about caring about your own criminal record more than your job as a public servant. We’re public volunteers. We don’t get paid by the state, it’s the other way around: we even pay all our taxes on time and that money makes up the budget. All we ask is that the people who brake the law go to jail and people who mock it with indecent decrees step down. They have to resign.
We might be tired and maybe some days the Square won’t be crowded, but we’ll come back. We’re a team. We will not give in. We are used to work 10 to 12 hours a day and spend 2 hours in traffic. We don’t get tired easily. We will not give in.
PS: Thank you, Bored Panda for the wonderful portraits.