Protesters Topple Lenin Statue In Ukraine And Smash It To Bits

President Viktor Yanukovych appears to have lost control of the capital as protests against him go on for a third week.

KIEV, Ukraine — Protesters toppled a statue of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin with an electric cable and broke it into pieces with a hammer Sunday, the clearest sign yet that President Viktor Yanukovych has lost control of the capital to pro-European protesters.

Several hundred people waved flags, sang the national anthem, and chanted “Yanukovych, you’re next!” as passing cars honked in support. A few policemen stood by helplessly before wandering off sheepishly.

The right-wing nationalist Svoboda party, one of the three major opposition groups, claimed responsibility for toppling the statue, the Ukrainskie Novosti news agency reported. Police said in a statement that they were investigating the incident and believed Svoboda’s fiercely anti-Russian and anti-Soviet members were responsible. Many of the people celebrating by the statue chanted nationalist slogans and waved right-wing groups’ flags.

Hundreds of protesters attacked the statue a week ago, but were driven off by riot police.

The prominent statue was surrounded by protesters.

Gleb Garanich / Reuters

The protesters formed a human wall as the statue was hooked up with an electric cable.

Stringer / Reuters

And toppled.

Stringer / Reuters

The statue landed head first into the concrete below.

Stringer / Reuters

Stoyan Nenov / Reuters

And Lenin’s head was buried deep into the concrete.

Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters

The Ukrainian protesters moved in to finish it.

Stoyan Nenov / Reuters

An orthodox priest blessed a sledgehammer in front of the crowd…

…and with the priest’s blessing, the statue was smashed to bits.

Stoyan Nenov / Reuters

Smashed.

Stringer / Reuters

To bits.

Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters

Parts of the statue were paraded through the street.

Stringer / Reuters

And the protesters defiantly stood atop the statue.

Stringer / Reuters

The pedestal now holds jubilant protesters carrying Ukrainian and EU flags.

Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters

This guy has the best Facebook cover photo in Ukraine right now.

Stoyan Nenov / Reuters

This is the clearest sign yet that the pro-Russian ruling party has lost control of Ukraine’s capitol city.

Stringer / Reuters

Mikhail Dobkin, governor of Kharkov province, tweeted that he would raise funds to restore the statue.

Watch the Lenin statue come down:

Misha Luzin / Via youtube.com

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