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05.07.2012

Kharkiv: Protest over ongoing tree felling in Gorky Park

   

As reported, a new scandal is unfolding in Kharkiv’s Gorky Park.  New reports of large-scale tree felling in the park came on 20 June. In the space of a few days around 200 trees have been destroyed. There was immediate protest and other those carrying out the felling refused to provide any permits, Zeleny Front [Green Front] activists began measures to prevent the lawlessness.

The activists called environmental impact inspectors, as well as representatives of the police and prosecutor’s office.  Following attention from the media, Kharkiv’s Mayor Gennady Kernes made an official statement in which he asserted that the “trees in the park are being cut down in accordance with rules approved within the city on cutting down green areas.  In particular, the trees behind the Park Cinema are being cut down as part of the reconstruction of Gorky Park. Four sports feels will be created for football, basketball, and streetball. They will be handed to the children and youth football school and competent sportsmen will hold training. Everything will be done in the park for people’s entertainment and rest.”

Yulia Yudina writes that the tree-felling was obviously timed deliberately both to fall within the Euro 2012 period and to come while the still not completed preparation of a kind of Disneyland amusement is making Gorky Park into a construction site. The new completion date of 15 August is also likely to be missed.

The felling now in question is different. The management of the park did not know about it and claim that it was done by illegal loggers, not part of the reconstruction.  A criminal investigation has been initiated over the tree-felling, under deliberate and large-scale destruction of property, estimated at 300 thousand UAH.

Protesters have undertaken a round-the-clock vigil at this area.  There is no news of any construction of the supposed sports fields, nor are any of the necessary documents in place making the excuses given for this destruction of Kharkiv’s forest – park difficult to believe.

A protest is planned for Thursday at 16.00 outside the Kharkiv City Council.

Information mainly from an article here http://glavnoe.ua/articles/a7089

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