Reports again rife that police stopped demonstrators reaching their destinations
On 27 April 2011, the anniversary of the ratification of the Kharkiv Accords between Yanukovych and Medvedev and the day that Freedom House published a report sounding the alarm over the decline of democracy under President Yanukovych, there were reports that people were prevented from attending peaceful demonstrations.
The Front for Change Party (headed by Arseny Arsenyuk) reported that the police were intimidating participants in a rally in Sevastopol under the banner: “The Black Sea Fleet is standing here, but where’s the cheap gas?” (the agreement which came out of the blue, at least for the public, extended the lease for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet for a further 25 years was supposedly in exchange for a reliably major reduction in the price of gas. The latter does not appear to have come about – translator).
According to the Front for Change, on 26 April, the day before the scheduled rally, a police officer “in civilian clothes” appeared at the office of the party’s Kherson branch. He asked about the rally and warned the party activists not to take part. He left behind a “Warning Notification to a person planning to take part in mass events”. This document warns of possible criminal prosecution in case of participation in mass events with infringement of current legislation or the blocking of transport communications.
The Front for Change state that “such actions by members of the law enforcement bodies are attempts by the regime to use enforcement structures to violate citizens’ rights to peaceful gatherings guaranteed by Ukraine’s Constitution.”
“With such actions the regime proves that it is frightened of its own citizens. Instead of working on improving people’s lives now, the regime is trying to prohibit people from freely expressing their dissatisfaction with their actions”.
From a report at http://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2011/04/27/6143210/ (where the document can be seen)
Meanwhile an article on the Ukrainian page of Kyiv Post reported that protesters trying to reach Kyiv were also prevented. Their source of information was the network of civic initiatives Opir [Resistance] which was hoping to bring up to a thousand activists for a rally outside the President’s Administration.