Clashes with police
A group of activists planned to picket Fatherland party leader and presidential candidate Yuliya Tymoshenko’s rally in Kyiv’s Kontraktova Square on 9 February. They suspect a senior member of the party of involvement in the deadly attack on Kherson activist Kateryna Handzyuk.
However, police stopped a group of nationalists heading for the picket. They were found to possess several knives, gas sprays, and a signal gun. Therefore, police decided to detain and take them to the local station.
Later the same young people and their friends came to the station again, demanding their belongings back. In a while, they attempted to storm the building and clashed with police officers. Police used tear gas and batons.
At least 50 people were detained on 9 February. Ten were apprehended as they were about to start the picket at Tymoshenko’s rally. Forty more were detained in a brutal manner near the local police station. Some of the policemen allegedly beat the activists, shouting “Lie down, bandera [a supporter of WWII Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera]”.
Kyiv police chief Andriy Kryshchenko said the group detained in Kontraktova Square and brought to the station had nothing to do with the picket called “Who ordered Katya Handzyuk?” He said they were detained because they were acting as a group and keeping their faces covered. None of them said they were planning to attend the picket. Neither did they carry any related banners or symbols, he added.
According to Kryshchenko, 24 people were detained. All of them were released during the night. Ten people requested medical assistance, including three police officers.
Kryshchenko also apologized for the police behavior on 9 February. He said the police officer who shouted insults would be identified and punished.
Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko said that investigators had identified the police officers who may have abused authority during the clashes outside the Podilskyy district department of police. He added that investigators would also “give a principled assessment of an attempt to seize the district department of the National Police”.
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