On Jan 26, 2014, three hundred representatives of Ukrainian community in Massachusetts, including Ukrainians from Providence, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut conducted a rally in support of protests against the government and police brutality in Ukraine. Participants called President Yanukovych to resign, blamed Yanukovych and police for violence against protestors and called the US government to impose “sanctions for dictators.”
The rally was held in front of The Massachusetts State House. Participants were singing Ukrainian anthem and called for the future for Ukraine. One of the poster claimed “We protest here, because it is illegal to protest in Ukraine.” Later, being accompanied by drums, protesters walked to the Faneuil Hall by the Freedom Trail. They were disseminating the leaflets about Ukrainian protest to raise awareness among citizens of Boston. Since Feb 6, Ukrainian community in Boston will start conducting Ukrainian Social – a monthly networking event for Ukrainians living in Boston and Massachusetts.
Ukrainian and foreign journalists are under police attacks in the heart of Kyiv, where the protests against the government continue. Riot police has already targeted more than 30 journalists, who were injured by rubber bullets and gas grenades. As a result, some journalists have been seriously injured.
Vyacheslav Veremiy, a correspondent for Vesti.ua was injured by police on Jan 20 and hold a surgery on his left eye. He might need another surgery and doctors do not guarantee his eyesight recovery. Vesti.ua, a pro governmental online site, where Veremiy works, still publishes partisan news regarding the protests, accusing protestors of “beating police”.
Unidentified Russian correspondent was injured during his live broadcast on Jan 20 (see video). The grenade exposed behind him, injuring the journalist and knocking him down. The video also shows protesters carrying the injured to the ambulance:
The protests against government have been continuing for two months. The main cause of protestors are to dismiss key state officials, to free political prisoners and to withdraw a set of repressive laws, adopted on Jan 16, 2014.
A police bus is in fire – Grushevskogo Str, Kyiv, Jan 19, 2014. Photo by Iryna Klachek
Read more about the events of Jan 19 in Kyiv – blog Voices of Ukraine
On Thursday, Jan 16, 2014, the Ukrainian Parliament has illegally adopted amendments to the Criminal Code and they have been immediately signed by the President of Ukraine. The initiative targets civil society and participants of #euromaidan by imposing sanctions for peaceful protests and activities of non-government organizations. Government also protects police. According to the amendments (translation by Iryna Lysenko):
– participants of peaceful protests and demonstrations that took place without the permission of police can be arrested for up to 15 days;
– blocking of state buildings is punished by up to 5 years of imprisonment;
– cars which move in a convoy of more than 5 vehicles can be confistaced from their owners;
– collecting personal information about policemen, judges and other state agents – such as facts from their biography where they lied under oath, accepted bribes, beat up or killed (yes, we do have murderers who are still judges) – can lead to arrest for up to 6 months;
– NGOs that receive grants from any foreign state/fund/organization/individual and that take part in ANY kind of political activity in Ukraine are now considered “foreign agents”, must register as such, are taken away their non-profit status and taxed by new, complicated procedure.
The graphics, prepared by Chesno, summarize the threats for the civil society in Ukraine: