As feared, it appears that Berkut riot police have used force to disperse the peaceful demonstration on Maidan Nezalezhnosti in support of European integration. Ukrainska Pravda cites MP Andriy Shevchenko as saying that EuroMaidan was brutally dispersed. He asserts that dozens have been injured, dozens detained. He says that Berkut stormed around 4 a.m. At 5 a.m (minutes ago). he tweeted that mobile contact is still down.
LigaBusinessInform reports that at 4.15 there were around a thousand protesters. Witnesses report that the young people, including women who had stayed through the night were beaten with batons, dragged to the ground and kicked.
All were pushed off the square. There are reports that people were injured and arrested, and blood can be seen.
In a particularly grotesque move, while Berkut occupied the entire perimeter of the square, others began erecting the New Year tree.
All of this comes only hours after a clear warning from the US Ambassador in Ukraine that use of force against peaceful protesters would have serious consequences for US-Ukrainian relations and a statement of concern from the EU Delegation to Ukraine.
And the morning after the abortive Vilnius Summit at which President Yanukovych ignored the clear choice of more than half Ukraine’s population, and all attempts to find some form of compromise and keep the way open for the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement to be signed.
There have been suggestions that sanctions should be applied to Ukraine’s leaders. Over the last week, first on November 24, then on Friday, those in power have proved willing to use hired thugs to provoke trouble in a crowded peaceful rally attended by children and young people. This latest heavy-handed and violent dispersal of peaceful protesters is yet further indication that the present regime is incapable of understanding any other language.
November 30, 2013
copyright: Halya Coynash
source: Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
image: copyright Andriy Khartanovych