Police draw up protocols against Chernobyl Clearup veterans’ peaceful protesters
The police are taking measures to identify the leaders of the Chernobyl Clean-up Worker who have been holding a protest hunger strike in a tent camp in Donetsk. Together with others throughout the country they are protesting against plans to cut their pensions and benefits to which the relevant law entitles them as people who particularly suffered from the 1986 Disaster.
Police officers have been drawing up protocols on members of the peaceful protest for “unauthorized assembly in a tent camp”. This is how they describe the protesters who have been on hunger strikes in tents outside the Donetsk Pension Fund. They entered one of the tents and asked who the leaders were. Mykola Goncharov from the Donetsk regional branch of “Chernobyl – Unity” explained to them that there were no leaders, only members of an initiative group. They proceeded to question Mr Goncharov, with all this filmed on video camera. The police officer stated that they were not going to drive them away, but were issuing a protocol of administrative offence on the leaders.
People are coming to the tents to show their support for the protesters who at the beginning of November began receiving reduced pensions. The size of the pension is now split into two departments. The first pays the amount until the court rulings which acknowledged their right to a higher pension came into force; the other – the “supplementary payment” to the main amount of the pension. The Pension Fund has been promising to make the “supplementary payments” when there is money in the budget.
For example, a second level disability pension was 7, 223; from November this category has been receiving from 1, 000 to 1, 200 UAH.
As reported, the Donetsk Distric Administrative Court banned the protest actions in a ruling on 23 November. Officials have told the protesters that their protest is “unlawful”, but have not produced the relevant paper. The protesters have in any case refused to stop their hunger strike, and warn that they will use all means to protect their tents, including self-immolation.