Berkut riot police disperse peaceful protest on Independence Square


One of the protesters has informed Ukrainska Pravda that 4 busloads of Berkut special unit officers arrived at 23.30 and immediately surrounded the protesters.

People stood in a circle, singing the Ukrainian national anthem and chanting “traitors in uniform”; “death to the enemy” and “prisoner out” [presumably referring to the President’s two prison sentences as a young man - translator].

The scuffles lasted about 40 minutes.

The Berkut men dragged people away by the arms and legs.  One of the protesters was taken ill.  The officers also removed two tents. People were put into the coaches on which they’d come to Kyiv. One of the nationalists threw a smoke bomb.

While pushing people towards the Khreshchatyk metro station, a TV 5 camera was damaged. Prior to the events, a representative of the Kyiv Department for City Maintenance tried to hand the protesters notice that it was illegal to put up tents. The protesters however refused to accept the notice saying that they didn’t know who the owner of the tents was. They also disagreed with the classification in the notice that the tents were “a temporary architectural form”.

One protester explained that they were sports tents, which are not in any way fixed, and are therefore viewed as people’s property.

At 22.00 there were 130=150 people around the tents. Among them were mothers who came to Kyiv on Thursday to stand outside the Interior Ministry and tell them about police ill-treatment of their sons. There were people from Poltava and Kirovohrad who had joined the march and came to Kyiv on foot. There was nobody from Vradiyka.

Around 200 people had come out to express their anger at the actions of the police. Photo from here Facebook Ann Molchanova

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