Police continue to put pressure on Kharkiv civic organizations


The Kharkiv law enforcement bodies are putting pressure on activists from “Zeleny Front” [Green Front] and the civic group “Prorvyomsya!” [“We’ll break through”]. On Thursday, at around 10 a.m. police and Special Force “Berkut” officers detained around 30 young people who were handing out leaflets with the title “Huge lies” in the city centre. According to Sergei Chetverikov from “Prorvyomsya!, who was himself detained, seven of them were taken to the Dzherzhynsky Police Station, the others were taken by Berkut officers to different district stations. He adds that the activists were detained without any accusations being laid. All leaflets, however, were removed with the officers claiming that it is not allowed to hand out material to passers-by in Kharkiv.

The lawyer for those detained was not allowed into the Dzherzhynsky Police Station for around an hour even though it was visible through the window that the activists were being questioned. The activists, however, used their right to remain silent. After some time they were released.

This is the second time in a week that the leaflet “Huge lies” has figured on the TV news and Internet. On Tuesday morning, 31 August, officers from the Frunzensky Police Station, without a search warrant from the court tried to get into the garage of one of the leaders of Green Front and “Prorvyomsya!”, Andrei Ilgov. The police said that they had received a report that in this garage Ilgov was taking apart stolen cars for spare parts. 

Ilgov refused to let them in. After his lawyer arrived, the police changed their tactics with Ilgov being told that there was a bomb in the garage. A bomb disposal unit arrived, together with the management of the Frunzensky Police Station, including the Head of the City Police, Alexander Baranyk who is presently on leave. The police marked the garage off with red tape and moved journalists and television cameras out of filming distance, while not evacuating people from the block next door.

Ilgov and his lawyer, Tetyana Vishnevskaya were taken by the police to the Frunzensky Police Station. Ms Vishnevskaya says that the police used force to get her in the car.

On his return, after being held at the police station without any charges being put forward, Ilgov discovered that 7 thousand leaflets “Huge Lies” had disappeared from the garage. He informs that on Monday, 30 August, two activists handing out that same leaflet were detained. They were held for three hours in the Dzherzhynsky Police Station and released.

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