Ban on demonstrations during Medvedev’s visit


The District Administrative Court in Kyiv has, according to the party VO “Svoboda” [Liberty Party] issued a ruling prohibiting peaceful protests in Kyiv on 17 May when Russia’s President Medvedev is due to visit.  The court, apparently on an application from the Kyiv City State Administration [KCSA] banned the Kyiv branches of VO “Svoboda” and “Za Ukrainu” [“For Ukraine”] from holding mass events in the central part of Kyiv including Bankova St, Khreshchatyk, Independence Square [Maidan Nezalezhnosti] and others.

VO “Svoboda” says that the court claimed that the ban was to “prevent any clashes between representatives of different political views, bearing in mind previous experience in ensuring maintenance of public order during similar actions, as well as conflict with police units which could lead to a sharp escalation in the situation and mass disturbances… during the planned official visit to Ukraine of the Russian Federation’s President Medvedev on 17-18 May.”

The court also cited the Law on the Fundamental Principles of Ukraine’s National Security”, specifically the item on “timely identification, prevention and neutralization of real and potential threats to national interests.”

VO “Svoboda” states that it intends to lodge an appeal against the ruling.

A number of opposition groups are planning protests on 17 May against the signing of documents which they believe to be against Ukraine’s national and economic interests.

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union has pointed out that the court ruling does not comply with case law of the European Court of Human Rights with regard to Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It considers such an unwarranted ruling to be yet another example of a wide-scale clampdown on freedom of peaceful assembly over the last two months.

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