New feat from Yanukovych’s village authorities – this time racist
The Village Council in Novi Petrivtsii (Kyiv oblast) has, for the second year running, issued a thoroughly racist ban which the Berkut riot police are being deployed to enforce.
The Novi Petrivtsi Village Council gained notoriety almost a year ago when it acted swiftly to stop an entirely legitimate gathering of journalists outside the neighbouring entrance to President Yanukovych’s sumptuous residence at Mezhyhirya. The journalists had planned to mark Journalist Day on 6 June by reminding the President of his promise a full year earlier to show the media the controversial residence. He has still not done so, and the peaceful journalist protest was nipped in the bud by the Novi Petrivtsi Village Head and then the Kyiv District Administrative Court.
It turns out, however, that the Novi Petrivtsi Village authorities had already been violating another fundamental principle enshrined in Ukraine’s Constitution – equality and prohibition of discrimination. The Council’s website has reported its decision to ban “people of Roma nationality (gypsies) from the cemetery during the memorial days falling on 22, 23 and 24 April 2012, as they did last year.
What is more, implementation of this decision will be ensured by the Special Force Berkut riot police who will patrol the cemetery on those days from 10.00 to 18.00 “which will ensure law and order and enable Novi Petrivtsi residents to peacefully remember their loved ones who have passed away.”
Ukrainska Pravda points out that the Head of Novi Petrivtsi, Rodion Starenki, is considered to be loyal to President Yanukovych.
It is very much to be hoped that a formal complaint will be made not only about the extraordinary action by the Novi Petrivtsi Village Council, but also about the deployment of the Berkut riot police in implementing entirely illegal and unconstitutional racist policy.