In a shocking video released today on the Internet, special government police force “Berkut” beat up and humiliate an arrested activist on Grushevsky Street in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev. The man, wearing a “Ukrainian cossack” haircut, is severely beaten and can be seen with bruises and lacerations all over his naked body. The police strip him to his socks in 25 degrees Farenheit weather, scream insults, and force him to hold a small shovel as they take pictures.
WARNING: The video on the following page includes graphic nudity.
Protesters are fighting back by publishing the names of policemen and their officials responsible for the murders and brutality on social media, calling for vengeance. The flyer below promises $5,000 for the information about the “Berkut” officer who murdered activist Sergei Nigoyan and $100,000 “for the head of that scumbag.”
Today, the protests have spread to major Ukrainian cities, with thousands-strong crowds storming and taking over administrative buildings in Rivno, Ternopil, Khmelnitsky, Cherkassy, and other cities.
In Lviv, the major city in Western Ukraine, an angry crowd stormed into the regional governor’s office and forced him to write a letter of resignation.
Even in the ever tranquil and loyal city of Cherkassy, where this author was born and grew up, a peaceful gathering of twenty thousand people in front of the city’s administrative offices turned violent.
When some of the protesters tried to break into the offices, policemen who locked themselves inside the building started spraying them with water, which quickly turned to ice in freezing temperatures. Another group of police, including a police colonel, who arrived to provide backup, were surrounded and had their insignia ripped off their clothes.
The confrontation escalated to the use of tear gas, smoke bombs, firecrackers, and stun grenades, with rocks flying from the crowd into the glass doors and windows, as people chanted, “The criminals must go.” With most windows and doors broken on all sides of the building, several groups of young people streamed inside and took over several floors, with water and stun grenades thrown by the police, who barricaded themselves on the third floor. The attackers broke windows and threw out official papers and pieces of furniture, which their supporters outside burned to get warm.
Residents from the nearby buildings came out to bring warm clothes for those protesters who had theirs soaked in icy water from the police hoses.
This video shows the early stages of the assault.
Protesters around the country are demanding the resignation of Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych and his appointed officials, an end to corruption, the end of the police presence, and a complete change of power.