© Joseph Sywenkyj/Redux Pictures
It was just after 2 a.m. on November 22, 2004, when the call went out: “The time has come to defend your life and Ukraine. Your victory depends upon how many people are ready to say ‘No’ to this government, ‘No’ to a total falsification of the elections.”
Regime-controlled media claimed victory for Viktor Yanukovych, handpicked by the corrupt sitting president. But credible exit polls showed Viktor Yushchenko, the opposition candidate, had won.
It was shocking enough that Yushchenko had been poisoned -- and nearly killed-- while on the campaign trail. When reports came in of blatant voter intimidation and damaged ballots, people were outraged. When they realized election officials were in on the fraud, the people had had enough.
In freezing temperatures, over one million citizens poured into the streets of Kyiv and took up residence there. They marched in protest and formed human barricades around government buildings, paralyzing all state functions. Restaurants donated food, businessmen sent tents, and individuals brought blankets, clothing, and money. At night, rock bands energized the protesters.
For 17 days, a group of ordinary citizens engaged in extraordinary acts of political protest. Capturing the songs and spirit of this moment in history, Orange Revolution tells the story of a people united, not by one leader or one party, but by one idea: to defend their vote.