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EuroMaidan Forum takes place under siege in Kharkiv
The concluding session of a EuroMaidan Forum took place on Sunday at the Kharkiv Human Rights Group premises following major problems with finding a location and protecting around 200 participants against large numbers of “titushki” – either hired thugs or members of pro-Russian organizations.
There was an attack on a bookshop on Sumska St on Saturday during a forum event, and also an attempt to burst into the church premises of the Svyato-Dmitriyvsky Church of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church where the main event was taking place. This location was chosen because of the huge difficulties in finding a place to hold the forum with owners of premises being threatened and pressurized into refusing to provide space.
Several thousand public sector workers – teachers, factory workers and others - were brought into the centre to hold pickets against EuroMaidan and the forum. Head of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group, Yevhen Zakharov told Radio Svoboda that this and the obstacles created to stop a venue being found are a flagrant breach of the right to peaceful assembly.
The Forum’s organizers explain that their aim is to plan a more structured, sustained pro-democracy movement beyond public squares. A resolution on Sunday defined their chief aim as being to remove those who have usurped power and to prevent this from happening in the future.