Journalists protest over „antifascist” assaults and police inaction
Over 150 journalists held a protest on Monday following the attack on Olha Snitsarchuk and Vladyslav Sodel on Saturday by so-called antifascists beating up some members of the VO Svoboda Party. This took place in full view of police officers who did not intervene despite being asked for help (and clearly needing it).
The journalists gathered outside the Interior Ministry and demanded that the assailants be punished,
The protest, organized by the Independent Media Trade Union and the National Union of Journalists, was under the banner: “Minister: Investigate or Get Out!”.
The participants demanded a meeting with the Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko. They were told that he was with the Cabinet of Ministers and couldn’t meet with them. Later in the day it was reported that Zakharchenko had discussed the course of the examination with MPs. It was also asserted that the assailant was "in hiding".
As reported, on 18 May Olha Snitsarchuk from TV Channel 5 and her husband, Vladyslav Sodel a Kommersant Ukraine photographer were beaten by unidentified louts. The police did not intervene despite being asked for protection several times by the journalists. The incident took place near the opposition rally and the Central Police Department on Volodymyrska St.
The attack was serious with Olha Snitsarchuk left with a cut to her lip and bruised arms. The thugs also broke her telephone. Vladyslav Sodel who tried to defend her also received injuries. The journalists had stopped to photograph how unidentified individuals of a bodybuilder appearance were beating up members of the VO Svoboda Party. “The assailants were circled by police and there were no members of the media present. When they saw Vladyslav taking photos the louts in training gear fell on him, and then attacked Olha when she began videoing the assault.
After the thugs were allowed to run off, and the police themselves used foul language to the journalists, an ambulance sent Olha for a forensic medical examination. Vladislav Sodel says that an investigator drew up a protocol, though he doesn’t know what it said, and that around 15 minutes later he disappeared.
Apparently the louts hitting the VO Svoboda members had just spoken to a Channel 5 reporter who was covering the incident. The police did not use this material in order to detain the men who attacked the two journalists, Sodel says.
See also Dangerous „Antifascist” Card for more information about the assailants, the Party of the Regions organized “antifascist” events and why it is of particular concern that the police so brazenly stood on and watched.