BLOODY NIGHT OF SLAUGHTER IN KIEV
At 4:00 a.m., soldiers of the Berkut special police unit smashed up the
tent camp set up by participants of the Ukraine Arise! protest action;> some
people were severely beaten and some were arrested.
PRAVDA.Ru reported yesterday that communist and socialist parties and Julia
Timoshenko’s coalition launched the protest action Ukraine Arise! Before the
demonstration started in Kiev’s European Square, the leader of the largest
parliament faction and ex-prime minister of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, and his
followers joined the protesters. It should be noted, his personal ratings are
the highest among Ukrainian politicians. It is perfectly clear that his
participation in the protest in Kiev made the demonstration interesting to
majority of Ukrainians.
According to the head of the foreign economic relations department in the Kiev
city administration, Mikhail Pozhivanov, 50,000 people gathered on European
Square. According to information provided by the opposition, 127,000 people took
part in the protest action, while the police says the the figure is 15,000
Participants of the demonstration produced a number of documents. A resolution
demanding the immediate resignation of President Kuchma is the main document
among them. The resolution says that the president is to resign and
extraordinary presidential elections are to be held in Ukraine. Participants of
the demonstation said that “the social, political, and economic status of the
country demonstrates a policy of genocide of the Ukrainian people.” The
document also mentions: “Corruption, gangsterism of oligarchic clans and top
officials, an economic crisis flourishing in the country, and freedom of speech
being strictly limited in Ukraine.”
The authors of the document believe that the parliament should determine the
date of extraordinary presidential elections, make up a majority of the
political powers that won the 2002 parliamentary elections, and create an
effective government. In addition, participants of the demonstration called upon
the parliamentary leadership to call an extraordinary session to discuss the
situation in the country. The resolution was signed by Viktor Yushchenko, Pyotr
Simonenko, Alexander Moroz, and Julia Timoshenko.
The protesters made up two columns and headed from European Square to the
Supreme Rada, the Cabinet of Ministers and the presidential administration.
According to the opposition’s press-service, in the evening, about 30,000
people gathered in Bankovaya Street, where the presidential administration is
situated. A group of people’s deputies went inside the building of the
presidential administration; it was planned that the deputies would stay in the
building until President Kuchma returns from an economic summit in Austria.
However, the parliamentarians returned very quickly.
Head of the presidential administration Viktor Medvedchuk addressed the
protesters at about 7:00 p.m.; he said he had already informed the president
about events in the country. Journalists asked him whether the president was
told about the details of the resolution passed at the meeting. However,
Medvedchuk said that the deputies wanted to give the resolution to the president
personally. He stressed that, although the opposition had a constitutional right
to organize protest actions of this kind, they can't break the law. The head of
the presidential administration didn’t specify any details.
Yesterday evening, protesters blocked Grushevsky, Shelkovichnaya, Institutskaya,
and Luteranskaya streets, which join the presidential administration with the
Supreme Rada and Cabinet of Ministers. The demonstrators set up about 130 tents
right on the trafficway. This was a rather striking picture.
I was in the area after 9:00 p.m. It was written on practically every tent from
where the protesters traveled to Kiev. The people looked cheerful: they believed
that nobody would leave the tent camp until president Kuchma resigns and new
presidential elections called. Such were the beliefs of the people before they
settled for the night. A group of people in uniforms and plain clothes gathered
near the building of the Cabinet of Ministers.
Late in the evening, when I returned from the camp set up by the demonstrators,
the protest action was televised on all channels. A commentator from STB channel
said that the police registered no disturbances during the protest in Kiev. It
was said that the police were highly tolerant.
Later, the TV channel showed a brief interview with Ukraine’s prime minister,
Anatoly Kinakh, who commented on the events on September 16. “According to
official data, 24,700 people took part in the protest action, not 200,000 as
organizers stated. Therefore, nothing extraordinary has happened.”
That was quite obvious lie, because a report from Lvov was televised right
before the interview. It was reported that ten thousand people took part in the
action; however, the opposition still insisted there were 20,000 protesters. In
the evening, Radio Liberty in Ukraine ran a live interview with the head of the
Kharkov city administration, Yeugeny Kushnarev. He said that, according to
police statements, five thousand people gathered for a protest action on Svobody
Square in Lvov. Therefore, the information concerning the number of protesters
given by the Ukrainian prime minister differs from the exact number of
protesters in Lvov and Kiev. What was the exact number of protesters on European
Square in Kiev? The government is evidently trying to hush up the scandalous
Early in the morning, I received a telephone call from member of the Socialist
party political council, Ukrainian deputy Alexander Baranovsky. He told me the
“At 4:00 a.m. (remember that Hitler attacked the USSR the same time in 1941),
people in uniform and masks attacked the protesters who were sleeping quietly in
the tent camp with rubber batons. The people were beaten regardless of their sex
and social position, and dozens of people in uniform gathered in the camp. The
battle was very severe; the protesters were beaten on their heads. One of the
protesters was a legless man who stayed in his tent, but the attackers beat him
as well. I can’t even say for sure whether he is alive or not. The people who
attacked the camp were extremely cruel. Some people were simply dragged away
from the camp, and we don’t know where they are now. Leaders of the opposition
Alexander Moroz, Pyotr Simonenko, Julia Timoshenko, and other people’s
deputies spent the night in the opposition camp. They tried to stop the raging
policemen, but in vain. I have never seen such cruelty.”
People from the opposition were seriously injured, and some are still missing.
It is not ruled out that they were arrested.
In the morning, the Ukrainian television channel 1+1 reported that officers of
the court had come to the camp to execute a court decision on the liquidation of
the tent camp in the central part of the city. And when the opposition refused
to leave, the police had to use force. A general said that twenty people were
arrested for resisting the police, nothing more.
It is strange that the court decision was passed by a court in charge of other
part of the city and not by the one in charge of the area where the camp had
been set up. Therefore, the opposition has a chance to use the slaughter to
discredit the government and Ukrainian power structures. It will be used to
demonstrate that Kuchma’s regime is very much like a bloody dictatorship.
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/09/17/47146.html
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original tomado de: http://english.pravda.ru/main/2002/09/17/36763.html