Video: Ukrainian journalist beaten after exposing corruption
Attack on Tetyana Chornovil reignites protests against regime
A protester holds pictures of journalist Tetyana Chornovil, who was beaten and left in a ditch just hours after publishing an article on the assets of top government officials, during a protest rally in front of the Ukrainian ministry of internal Affairs in Kiev. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters
Protesters have demanded Ukraine’s interior minister resign after an opposition journalist known for documenting the extravagance of the country’s political elite was chased down in her car and savagely beaten in a midnight attack.
Clutching pictures of Tetyana Chornovil’s badly bruised face, hundreds marched on the interior ministry in the capital, Kiev. The attack on the 34-year-old restored passion to protests that have been losing steam more than a month after the government spurned a pact on closer ties with the European Union, turning instead to former Soviet master Moscow.
Dramatic footage of Ukranian journalist rammed off road
“The United States expresses its grave concern over an emerging pattern of targeted violence and intimidation towards activists and journalists” who participated in or reported on the protests, said a statement issued by US state department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki yesterday evening.
She called on Ukraine’s government to ensure respect for human rights and to send an “unequivocal message” that violence against government critics “will not be tolerated.”
“The United States, in concert with our European partners, will continue to closely watch the disposition of this and other cases,” she said in the statement.
Ukraine’s interior minister, Vitaly Zakharchenko, had already become a target of opposition anger following a violent crackdown on protesters by police late last month that helped swell the demonstrations.
The attack on Ms Chornovil, shortly after midnight on Wednesday, came hours after she posted pictures online of what she said was Mr Zakharchenko’s home, part of a campaign to expose the opulence of the political elite under president Viktor Yanukovich.
“Our police no longer protect their people, but fight them instead, hurt and oppress them,” said protester Valentina Gorilova, a 47-year-old housewife. Some protesters, their hands chained, kneeled before a row of police in mock supplication. With
Ukraine winding down for the Orthodox Christian holiday season, the opposition movement has shown signs of waning. A hard core of hundreds continue to camp out around braziers on Kiev’s Independence Square, swelled by weekly mass rallies of around 100,000 or more.
Ms Chornovil, who has played an active role in the protests, shot to prominence last year when she infiltrated the grounds of Mr Yanukovich’s opulent residence in a park near the Dnieper River.