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20.01.2014

SBU General: Police in breach of the Constitution on Hrushevsky St

   

The combat grenades used by police against protesters on Hrushevsky St are for use against terrorists and criminals, a former deputy head of the SBU [Security Service] says. SBU Lieutenant General Oleksandr Skipalsky told Radio Svoboda that the police had violated the Constitution by impeding a protest which at the outset was peaceful.  The police claim that their use of special means, which included stun grenades; rubber bullets (at least); tear gas and water cannons was legal and call the events a mass riot.  While at a certain point trouble began, up till then the demonstration which brought tens of thousands out in Kyiv had been peaceful.

Skipalsky is adamant:  “If the police had not obstructed people’s peaceful expression of their views, but had guarded the government building or Verkhovna Rada which somebody wanted to seize, I would have said that they carried out their task to prevent [seizure] and guard official buildings. “

He says that by blocking the street when people were protesting in peaceful fashion, the police breached Article 5 of the Constitution.  He believes that for that only, for allowing provocateurs to carry out such actions the police management should lose their jobs. 

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