Demands in Kharkiv voiced for an objective investigation into the mass violence on 16 December


On 25 January around 100 protesters held a picket outside the Kharkiv Regional Department of the Police. Prior to that over 200 activists of the movement “Misky Dozor” [“City Watch”], members of other civic organizations and city residents had held a rally near the Regional Administration offices. The protesters were calling on the authorities to bring those who organized the disturbances on 16 December and those who beat up people to justice, and to restore peace and order in Kharkiv.
As reported, in December last year after a rally in Kharkiv against the building of a shopping centre, mass disturbances broke out in which a number of people (mainly security guards – translator) were beaten up. In the last few days the Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor’s office terminated the investigation over the disturbances.
At a press conference on 23 January the Regional Prosecutor Vasyl Synchuk said that the investigation had been suspended due to the “lack of a crime.” *

* A slightly fuller version of Mr Synchuk’s words was given two days ago:
The position of the Kharkiv prosecutor’s office
At the same time, the Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor Vasyl Synchuk reported that the investigation into the mass disturbance on 16 December launched by the SBU had been terminated due to the “lack of a crime” since the law enforcement officers were unable to prove that the disturbances had been organized.
Vasyl Synchuk reported to journalists in Kharkiv that he was dissatisfied with how the police were investigating the case.
“When you observed these events on the television, you could draw the conclusion that the public officials of the City Council were the chief organizers of the beating. However the presumption of innocence must operate and it has to be proven that this actually was the case, and the law enforcement agencies have not done this.”

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