MIA: It’s their fault for deliberately protesting


The Ministry of Internal Affairs has provided yet another extraordinary response regarding its officers’ activities during the measures taken in Kharkiv to crush peaceful efforts to stop unlawful tree-felling in Gorky Park. 

In a letter to the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union they state:“The protesters through their deliberate actions obstructed workers from carrying out their functions, blocked construction transport and demonstratively went on to dangerous zones where trees cut down were fall which subjected themselves and those around to danger”.

The letter accuses the demonstrators of violating Article 39 of the Constitution by not providing prior notification.

The decision of the Kharkiv City Council to begin the felling was taken, without any of the legally required permits, on 19 May. The felling began on 20 May without any of the necessary safety measures in place.

The letter does not mention this, but claims that the protesters were in breach of the Constitution.

The letter proudly informs that the police drew up 28 protocols on administrative offences, with the list including petty hooliganism, infringement of the rules for holding gatherings and rallies, disobeying the lawful instructions of a police officer.

With regard to the assault by thugs in black of the park defenders, with the police present and doing nothing, the letter states that the results of an official investigation showed that “the police units acted within the boundaries of legislation and in accordance with the circumstances”.

It does, however, state that “however, for particular failings in organizing official activities relating to ensuring protection of public order, a number of heads of the Dzherzhynsky District Police Station have faced disciplinary measures.”

Most regrettably, no further details are provided.

The letter from the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner, clearly ignored by the Kharkiv authorities, can be read here  It was in response to various appeals, including the one here (the URLs for Youtube clips showing the behaviour of police officers not regarded by the MIA as reprehensible are provided within the text).

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