Tear gas used against protesting war veterans
A large crowd made up mainly of veterans of the war in Afghanistan gathered this morning outside the Verkhovna Rada to protest against a draft law which will legalize reductions in benefits due war veterans, rescue workers whose health was seriously damaged at the site of the Chernobyl Disaster and pensioners. As reported, plans are underway to give the Cabinet of Ministers the right to determine the size of benefits which, according to the Constitution, are fixed by laws. Reuters reports that the government is trying to reduce budgetary deficit in order to obtain the next part of an IMF loan.
Some of the protesters tried to storm parliament and broke through police cordons. According to the Internet publication Ukrainska Pravda, whose correspondent was clearly present, tear gas was used by Berkut riot police in the scuffle that ensued. The protesters apparently agreed to move back only after being assured by representatives of the ruling majority that the law would not be considered by parliament this week.
The Kyiv police have, it is reported, already established who encouraged the protesters to take more active measures. Judging by the huge number of summonses following conflict on Independence Day, there will be a lot of interrogations and, perhaps, criminal proceedings initiated.
From reports at Ukrainska Pravda and Reuters