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03.09.2007

Criminal investigation over assault on picketers

   

The picket began this morning outside the Odessa Regional Administration building to coincide with President Yushchenko’s scheduled visit to the city. Activists from the All-Ukrainian Organization “Svoboda” and the civic organization “Prosvita” [“Enlightenment”] read out an appeal from members of the Ukrainian intelligentsia against the erection of a monument to Catherine the Great.

The picketers were then apparently set upon by young men, supporters of Valery Kaurov, head of the organizations Yedinoye Otechestvo [Common Fatherland] and the “Union of Orthodox Christians”. 

Paying no attention to police officers present, Kaurov’s supporters set to beating up the picketers while their leader chanted “Beat the Bandera supporters!”, “Glory to Russia.  Down with NATO”.

The police immediately called for reinforcement, however the latter arrived ten minutes later as the attack ended.

A criminal investigation has been launched. It is not at present known where Valery Kaurov is.

We hope that the evidence given by witnesses and victims, material evidence, as well as CCTV cameras at the Regional Administration will make it possible to establish the course of events and who was responsible. We also hope that the actions of thugs aimed at inciting inter-ethnic enmity and organizing disturbances will be properly assessed by the investigators.

We would note that earlier reports by the UNIAN press agency stating that the police had abetted the assailants are not quite correct.

It should be noted that this event received more or less the same coverage in the UNIAN report and that on Radio Svoboda, however Glavred and at least one other smaller website repeat the term “fought”, suggesting that this was a brawl, not an assault, and quoting Kaurov. 

Based on a report on www.maidan.org.ua (and the other sites, as mentioned)

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