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Vancouver’s Ukrainians Rally Against Police Brutality

Denis Polishchuk (Vancouver)

Peaceful Protests in Kyiv

On November 29th, 2013, the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius ended without any accords being signed between the EU and the Ukrainian Government. Following the release of this news, thousands of people once again gathered on the main square of Ukraine’s capital to express their dismay by such a turn of events.

By 7.00pm local time, there were more than ten thousand people waiting anxiously for opposition leaders and heads of civil organisations to propose a consolidated action plan. People were told to stay at the Maidan until Sunday, when a national strike and rally were to be held in order to announce further plans.

A Euromaidan protester in Kyiv after having been "cleared out" by the police, photos courtesy Hryhoriy Zhyhalov, TSN

By 4.20am on Saturday, only several hundred protesters remained at the Maidan Nezalezhnosti, and when those began to sing the national anthem, they were surrounded by some 2000 members of the “Berkut” riot police which attacked as the demonstrators sang. According to eyewitness reports, not only was the attack unprovoked, but protesters did not even attempt to resist arrest.

Members of Berkut armed with batons began mercilessly beating protesters down to the ground, breaking bones in the process. People fled to nearby buildings as the ones who did not were rounded up, and taken into custody.  Reports indicate that the attack was indiscriminate; both women and pensioners faced the same fate as students.

In support of the peaceful manifestations, and in protest of President Yanukovych’s human rights violations in his ruthless dealing with the Ukrainian people, Vancouver’s Ukrainian Community is planning to hold a rally at 2pm on December 1st, 2013 outside the Vancouver Art Gallery. Anyone wishing to support the cause is welcome to join.

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