A local professor who spent several summers teaching in Ukraine said protesters simply want opportunity.

Michael Donovan, a professor at Cedar Crest College, taught in a high school and was in Kiev this past summer.

The picture-perfect Euro Maidan Square Donovan described while visiting over several summers, however, is now a bloody and deadly battlefield.

Protesters are waging a violent protest against the Ukrainian government for siding with Russia over the European Union.

"I will tell you, my students and friends that are there are looking at this from a Democratic need and not any sort of thuggish behavior," Donovan said.

Donovan spent the summers of 2012 and 2013 in Ukraine teaching high school students.

"Young people of Ukraine just want to enjoy their lives and be who they want to be The high school students are wonderful, absolutely wonderful," Donovan said.

Inside that friendly nature, however, rests a deep seed of distrust for those in power, Donovan said.

"They speak about the oligarchs and a government that corrupt as they go about their daily lives," Donovan added.

Those lives are now in turmoil. Donovan keeps in regular contact with about two dozen Ukrainians through Facebook and Skype.

"I think they are resigned they're not going to succeed in getting what they want. They wish to open themselves up to the world, not just to Russia," he said.

Donovan said those he's in contact with are mad, scared and don't think the turmoil will end anytime soon.