: :inin Kyiv (EET)

Protests sweep across Ukraine after governement aressted and beat 43 activists who blocked trade with separatists in Donbas

Ukraine saw a wave of rallies overnight Tuesday as a public response to the law enforcers` move to detain 43 activists of the Donbas trade blockade at a staged a checkpoint at Kryvy Torets railway station in Donetsk region.

TSN news service collected reports on the night protests from across Ukraine. Earlier, police on March 13 detained 43 men who were blocking traffic near the Kryvy Torets railway station in Donetsk region. Member of Parliament Ihor Lutsenko from the Batkivschyna parliamentary faction said that Ukrainian law-enforcement agencies had detained about 30 participants in the trade blockade. Earlier, the blockade HQ claimed that SBU security service officers and members of the Ukrainian police`s KORD special weapons and tactics force had taken the Kryvy Torets roadblock over.

This statement appeared after adviser to the SBU chief Yuriy Tandit told UNIAN that the SBU was not involved in the seizure of participants in the blockade in Kryvy Torets who oppose trade with Russia-occupied areas in Donbas.

See also: Ukrainian soldiers support the trade blockade between Ukraine and Russian occupied Donbas, Ukrainian government tries to undo the blockade

Several hundred protesters of a night rally on Kyiv`s Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square, in the early hours of Tuesday, March 14, demanded the release of detained protesters who oppose trade with occupied areas in Donbas.

From the Maidan, the protesters moved toward the presidential administration and continued the rally there. However, the protest did not last long. There were actually more law enforcers present than activists. Protesters agreed to meet again on Maidan later on Tuesday.

Nearly one hundred people, including Donbas war veterans, civil volunteers and other activists, have gathered in and outside the Volyn regional state administration`s building in the west Ukrainian city of Lutsk, demanding the release of the Donbas blockade supporters detained on Monday and the dismissal of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and SBU chief Vasyl Hrytsak.

Over 80 war veterans and other activists in Volyn region have responded to Lutsk City Council member Mykola Sobutsky`s appeal on Facebook and gathered outside the Volyn regional administration`s building.

protest in Vinnytsya

Photo by vlasno.info

The protesters demand that the regional authorities and police explain why the roadblock near the Kryvy Torets railway station in Donetsk region, one of the roadblocks set up by activists who protest against trade with Russia-occupied areas in Donbas, was stormed by the SBU Security Service and SWAT police on Monday.

Later, the protesters read out their demands, addressing Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the Ukrainian parliament, according to 112.ua.

Their demands include the release of the unlawfully detained participants in the blockade and the dismissal of Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and his controversial subordinate, deputy head of the National Police of Ukraine Viacheslav Abroskin. They also insist on the dismissal of SBU head Vasyl Hrytsak and chief of the SBU`s Anti-Terrorist Center Vitaliy Malikov.

What is more, they demand urgent measures to facilitate the release of prisoners of war kept by Donbas occupiers and the immediate adoption of a No. 3181 bill on temporarily occupied areas.

The protesters said they could stay in the government building overnight. Their protest may be extended to two or three days if needed.

See also: Profit from war: illegal export of coal from Ukrainian territory occupied by Russia

A bright protest was held in Vinnitsa. Outside the SBU regional office, the protesters set tires on fire, demanding the release of seven locals detained in Kryvy Torets. Activists vowed more protests in the morning outside the RSA headquarters as well as a blocking of Roshen factory if the detainees were not released until morning.

The activists also said they opposed trade with the invaders.

First deputy head of the regional SBU office talked to protesters assuring them that the detainees in Kryvy Torets had been released.

In Chernivtsi, volunteers and activists gathered to protest against the dispersal of the blockade of the occupied areas of Donbas and to coordinate further joint actions. The main requirement is the convening of an extraordinary session of the regional council, so that the local government supported the position of the activists in preventing trade with terrorists, and also resolved the issues of ensuring energy independence.

Outside the RSA headquarters, the activists also lit up tires in a protest against the dispersal of blockade participants. Having entered the Administration, they put forward the following requirements: to immediately call an extraordinary session of the regional council, to release the detainees, to pass a law banning trade with the occupied areas of Donbas, and to bring to justice those who ordered a crackdown on blockade participants.

See also: Ukrainian government intimidates with consequences of trade blockade Russia-occupied Donbas: power blackout, devaluation, $2 bln losses

In Ivano-Frankivsk, the activists set old tires on fire, and fire trucks arrived within minutes to put the fire out. The protesters demanded the release of detained activists.

Protesters in Lviv have met with RSA Chairman Oleh Syniutka along with the head of regional police department and local SBU office chief. They demanded that before 10:00 Tuesday, all detainees in Kryvy Torets be released, provided urgent medical treatment, and publish the list of detainees.

In case mistreatment of protesters is confirmed, the activists demand to prosecute those responsible. The chairman of the Lviv Regional State Administration promised to contact President Petro Poroshenko shortly and forward the demands of Lviv activists.

In Odesa, the protesters of Avtomaidan organization handed over to the Security Service demands of an immediate release of detained blockade participants, provision of urgent medical aid, and immediate investigation into illegal dispersal.

If the demands of the activists are not met before 10:00 Tuesday, they pledged to resort to ”other methods of peaceful protest.”

Kharkiv-based volunteers did not burn tires and did not ”seize” the RSA. However, they signed an appeal to President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, the Verkhovna Rada, and the Cabinet, condemning the dispersal of the blockade activists. They demand the release of all detainees, an investigation into the actions of law enforcers during the dispersal, and justice to those responsible for violations. They also demanded to remove obstacles hindering access of medical staff, volunteers and journalists to the ATO zone, and also adopt legislation regarding the situation that emerged in connection with the occupation of part of the Ukrainian territory.

See also: Self-censorship on Ukrainian TV: how do the most viewed TV channels report Poroshenko’s activities


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