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05.11.2013

2013 Record-breaker for anti-police protest

   

The Centre for Social Research reports that 2013 has already broken all relative and absolute records for the number of protests against police lawlessness or failure by the police to act when needed.  The Centre’s monitoring found that in the first 9 months of the year there were 333 protests, this being 12% of the total number of protests during the period.   It says that this is a 25% increase on 2012, and several times higher than in 2010 or 2011. 17% faced repressive measures from the authorities, though the Centre says that only 5% of the protests were of a violent nature.

The main wave of protest was in July when one in three protests was against the police.  The figures for July are not unexpected.  On 26 June a young mother from Vradiyvka (Mykolaiv oblast), Iryna Krashkova was raped and savagely beaten after leaving a local discotheque. 

It seems likely that her assailants left her for dead, but she managed to drag herself to the town and was taken to hospital.  . 

She named her assailants as two officers of the local police station.  One was arrested, together with the taxi driver who apparently did not take part in the rape, however the other – Yevhen Dryzhak – claimed that he had been on duty that night.  After it seemed likely that Dryzhak was being protected by colleagues, a huge crowd stormed the police station believing him to be hiding there. 

The degree of publicity which went far beyond Ukraine led to the authorities arresting Dryzhak as well.  The trial is underway now.

There have also been a number of protests over police inaction.  There were the traditional protests on 16 September when Ukrainians remembered the slain journalist Georgy Gongadze.  However there have also been journalist protests following the events on 18 May when Channel 5 journalist Olha Snitsarchuk and her photographer husband Vlad Sodel were assaulted by thugs apparently hired as “security” for Party of the Regions demonstrations.  The police allegedly stood by despite pleas for them to intervene. 

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