Mysterious “men in black” guard Mezhyhirya from the public
OZON a civic peaceful assembly watchdog is demanding that the Interior Ministry explain who the identified men in black were who obstructed a peaceful gathering near the President’s controversial residence at Mezhyhirya on 15 May. If these individuals were employees of the Ministry, then disciplinary proceedings should be considered.
On 15 May OZON representatives were present at a peaceful gathering in defence of freedom of peaceful assembly organized by the Democratic Alliance party and its youth branch in the village of Novi Petrivtsi near Mezhyhirya. A group of individuals in black uniform with bullet-proof vests, rubber batons, walkie-talkies and other special devices, yet without anything to indicate who they were. They were obviously working closely with the police including the Berkut riot police. OZON points out that the use of unidentified individuals in this way is a grave breach of the Law on the Police and of international standards.
These men in black pushed the demonstrators from the place where they began their protest, creating a circle around some of the protesters and detained one of them.
They refused to identify themselves when asked both by the demonstrators and by OZON.
OZON has been forced to demand an internal investigation having received no satisfactory answers to formal information requests sent to all the relevant departments.
It also insists that such individuals should wear something making it possible to know who they are.
See Protecting the President’s Patch for more information about the initial attempts by Democratic Alliance to hold a peaceful gathering, the less than convincing reasons for a ban and subsequent jail terms for arrested peaceful demonstrators.