Protests throughout Ukraine: riot police clash with demonstrators in Kyiv
The protests planned for 3 November proved less massive than had been planned (- in fact the huge figures seem to have come mainly from the police – translator). One reason was that the authorities managed to convince some of the veterans of the Afghanistan War, Chernobyl Disaster rescue workers and pensioners that benefits would not be cut.
The organizers of protests outside parliament also assert, however, that the authorities obstructed those planning to join the Kyiv protests.
The movement “Vpered” [“Forward”] for example reported that coaches with protesters had not been allowed into the centre, while in a number of cities transport agencies had broken agreements to take people to Kyiv.
There were no more than 2 thousand people who took part in the demonstration demanding that parliament dissolve itself.
The protesters once again managed to break through the metal gates, but enforced units of Berkut riot police prevented them from reaching the Verkhovna Rada building.
Most of the protesters on 3 November were small and middle-level business owners from the Vpered movement. Many of them took part in the Tax Code Maidan [the huge protests on Maidan Nezalezhnosti or Independence Square in Kyiv] in November 2010, as well as several hundred former Chernobyl rescue workers. Although the protesters say that they are not linked with any political forces, since they don’t trust any of them, the informal leader of Vpered is National Deputy from BYUT, Natalia Korolevska.
In Donetsk those demonstrating included Afghanistan War Veterans, communists, opposition parties, and business owners. The latter say that they are forced to protest again since parliament did not heed their suggestions for the law regarding the simplified system of taxation.
According to the BBC’s correspondent in Donetsk, there were over 3 thousand protesters. The protest, the largest in recent years, united opposition parties, business owners, Veterans and former rescue workers.
In other cities protests gathered several hundred people.
The day before the protest, representatives of some Chernobyl rescue workers’ organizations held talks with Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Tihipko. As a result they decided not to take part in the protests, having been told that their pensions would not be reduced. Others did still take part, but the numbers were lower than had been expected. The same was the case with various Afghanistan War Veteran organizations.
From a report at the BBC Ukrainian Service
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