As the violence in Ukraine spreads from the capital Kiev to other parts of the country, the government is making hasty attempts to agree to a peace deal with the opposition leaders. The protests that started in November as a result of President Yanukovych’s decision to reject the EU agreement have escalated, and have led to at least 77 deaths this past week alone, with the state using live ammunition against demonstrators.

Protests no longer remain about whether Ukraine is to align itself with Russia or the EU. Instead the government and its rule have emerged as the major cause of dissent. Policy-making that neglects the masses is central to the problem.

The so-called leaders of the opposition are not really the saviors of the country either. While demonstrators have joined the movement from various political perspectives, the leaders identified are mainly from right and centre-right parties concerned about safeguarding the rights of the wealthy. A resignation by Yanukovych would mean one corrupt government leaving to be replaced by another. So far, concessions have failed to satisfy the public as they only cater to the wealthy. Whether all the demonstrators really back the leadership of these parties was also called into question when protesters stormed the justice building on Sunday despite their leaders advising them against it.

The terms of the peace deal have not been made clear so far, but calling early elections by the end of this year and curtailing the powers of the President are central to the agreement. Still, there is a long way to go before the violence is brought to an end. Perhaps the government has gone too far, and the people have been pushed to that mighty desperation we are all too familiar with, of a public willing to do anything to safeguard its rights.