Ukraine Riot Police Break Up Protest

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian security forces have broken up a demonstration by hundreds of people in central Kiev protesting against police brutality after the alleged rape of a woman in the south of the country by two officers.

Around 200 people turned out on Kiev's Independence Square on Thursday evening for the protest, many clutching pictures of relatives who they claimed to have been tortured or beaten by the Ukrainian security forces.

However, with the protesters showing no sign of shifting in the early hours of Friday morning and erecting tents to stay the night, Ukraine's elite Berkut riot police moved in to break up the demonstration, an AFP correspondent reported.

Nine people were arrested as the armoured police forced people out of the square as the protesters sung the national anthem and cried "Glory to Ukraine, Death to the Enemies!"

At least one television journalist was wounded.

There has been fury in Ukraine over the gang rape in the southern Mykolayiv region of 29-year-old Iryna Krashkova who says two policemen raped her after taking her into the woods in a taxi.

Initially, police detained only one officer leaving the other one free, saying he could not have been involved in the rape and claiming he was on duty that night.

It was widely thought that the policeman enjoyed the protection of local authorities because of family connections.

The outrage over this incident has also sparked protests against other alleged violations.

On July 12, opposition activists attempted to storm a police station in Kiev and on July 6 a station in the Kiev region town of Fastov.

Source: AFP


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