At 4:00 a.m., soldiers of the Berkut special police unit smashed up the tent camp set up by participants of the Ukraine Rise! protest action, some people were severely beaten at that and some arrested.
PRAVDA.Ru already informed yesterday that communist, socialist parties and Julia Timoshenko’s coalition launched a protest action Ukraine Rise! Before the meeting started in Kiev’s European Square, leader of the largest parliament faction, ex-prime minister of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko and his followers joined the protesters. By the way, his individual rating is the highest among the Ukrainian politicians. It is perfectly clear that his participation in the protest action in Kiev made the action very attractive for majority of Ukrainians.
According to head of the foreign economic relations department in the Kiev city administration, Mikhail Pozhivanov, 50,000 people gathered in European Square. According to information provided by the opposition, 127,000 people took part in the protest action, the police says, the figure is 15,000 people.
Participants of the meeting adopted a number of documents. A resolution demanding immediate resignation of President Kuchma is the main document among them. The resolution says, the president is to resign and extraordinary presidential elections are to be held in Ukraine. Participants of the action said that “social, political and economic situation in the country demonstrated the policy of genocide of the Ukrainian people.” The document also mentioned: “Corruption, gangsterism of oligarchic clans and top officials, economic crisis are flourishing in the country, the freedom of speech is strictly limited in Ukraine.”
Authors of the document think that 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. Besides, participants of the protest action call upon the parliamentary leadership to summon 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 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 gets back 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 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 at that, although the opposition had a constitutional right for organizing protest actions of this kind, it couldn’t break the laws. The head of the presidential administration didn’t specify any details at that.
Yesterday evening, protesters blocked Grushevsky, Shelkovichnaya, Institutskaya, Luteranskaya streets that join the presidential administration with the Supreme Rada and Cabinet of Ministers, the people set up about 130 tents right on the trafficway. This was a rather striking picture.
I was in the place after 9:00 p.m. It was written on practically every tent from what place the protesters arrived to Kiev. The people looked cheerful: they believed that none would leave the tent camp until president Kuchma resigns and new presidential elections are appointed. Such were believes of the people before they settled for the night. A group of people in uniform and in plain clothes gathered near the building of the Cabinet of Ministers.
Late in the evening, when I got back home from the camp set up by the demonstrators about midnight, the protest action was televised on all channels. A commentator from STB channel said that police registered no disturbances during the protest action in Kiev. It was said, the police was highly tolerant.
Later, the TV channel demonstrated 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 of the action stated. So, nothing extraordinary has happened.”
That was quite obvious lie, because a report from Lvov was televised right before the interview. It was reported at that, ten thousand people took part in the action, however, the opposition still insisted there were 20,000 protesters. In the evening, the Radio Liberty in Ukraine televised a live interview with the head of the Kharkov city administration, Yeugeny Kushnarev. He said, according to police statements five thousand people gathered for a protest action in Svobody Square in Lvov. So, the information concerning number of protesters as given by the Ukrainian prime minister differs from the exact number of protesters in Lvov and Kiev. What was the exact number of protesters in European Square in Kiev? The authority is evidently trying to hush up the scandalous situation.
Early in the morning, I had a telephone call from member of the Socialist party political council, Ukrainian deputy Alexander Baranovsky. He told me:
“At 4:00 a.m. (remember that Hitler attacked the USSR the same time in 1941) people in uniform and masks, with rubber batons attacked the protesters who were sleeping quietly in the tent camp. The people were beaten regardless of their sex and social position, dozens of people in uniform gathered in the camp. The battle was really severe, the protesters were often beaten on the heads. One of the protesters was a legless man who stayed in the tent, the attackers also beat him. I even can’t 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, we don’t know where they are now. Leaders of the opposition, Alexander Moroz, Pyotr Simonenko, Julia Timoshenko and more 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, some are still missing. It is not ruled out they were arrested.
In the morning, Ukrainian 1+1 TV channel reported that officers of the court had come to the camp to execute the court decision on liquidation of the tent camp in the central part of the city. And when the opposition refused to leave the place, the police had to use force. A general said, twenty people were arrested for resistance to the police. And nothing more.
It is strange that the court decision was passed by the court which was in charge of some other part of the city, not of that one where the camp had been set up. So, the opposition has a chance to use the night slaughter for discrediting the authority and the Ukrainian power structures. It is used to demonstrate that Kuchma’s regime is very much like a bloody dictatorship.
The Russian forces destroyed a column of NATO armoured vehicles that had been delivered to the Ukrainian army.