Protesters’ tent camp on Maidan forcibly removed “in 20 minutes”
In Kyiv workers of the municipal services, with the support of the police, have removed the tent camp on Maidan Nezalezhnosti [Independence Square]. The tents had been there for two weeks in protest over the new Tax Code. A police spokesman said that the tents had been removed in accordance with a court ruling.
On Wednesday, the Tax Code with the President’s proposals, supposedly in response to the protest, included, was passed also in record time (less than an hour)
According to one of those in charge of the tent camp, Oleh Akhtyrsky, measures to pull down the tents began at around 4 a.m. and lasted a mere 20 minutes.
“At 4 a.m. we were surrounded. There were several groups. The first group which came first were people in plain clothes, of athletic build. The second were supposedly municipal workers in orange jackets, then the third were Berkut (Special Forces) officers who circled us. The municipal services supposedly because I understand that they were supporters of the enforcement structures simply dressed in orange jackets began pulling down the camp. Very quickly, to plan, they’d clearly coordinated their actions and accordingly, in around 20 minutes, the camp had gone”.
Mr Akhtyrsky adds that the authorities did not warn the protesters of their actions, nor did they identify themselves or provide explanations when detaining people. He asserts that the police detained two protesters.
The tents and personal belongings of the protesters were loaded onto trucks and taken away. At present the centre of Kyiv, as well, it is reported, as the entrances to the main Khreshchatyk St. are blocked by traffic police.
The police gave the Ukrainian Service of the BBC no details, saying only that it had been the Kyiv communal services that was involved in dismantling the tent camp.
Oleh Akhtyrsky says that the protesters have not yet decided what their next actions will be.
However in the morning near the exit from the metro station Maidan Nezalezhnosti, groups of small business owners gathered who say that they want to continue the protest.
Members of the law enforcement bodies are videoing this group.
Protest coordinators had previously reported that a new protest was planned for 6 December.
The protesters according to one of the coordinators, Oleksandr Danylyuk, were not satisfied with the amendments adopted on Thursday to the Tax Code, in accordance with the recommendations proposed by President Yanukovych. According to Mr Danylyuk, the protesters were continuing to demand a veto on the Code, the dismissal of the government and parliamentary elections in 2011.
Photo from UNIAN