On December 17th, protests took place in Kiev against the Ukrainian land reform.
Protesters attempted to set up tents, to organize a sit-in against the land reform bill, but police took them down and arrested dozens of activists, many of them radicals.
There were clashes, and some reports even claim that there was one death, but the Ukrainian police claimed that the death was unrelated to the protests.
The backbone of the protests were the nationalists of the National Corps, who opposed the sale of land and tried to open a tent camp near Rada.
The demonstration was timed to a meeting of the agrarian committee, which was to consider amendments to the second reading of the bill.
In parallel opponents of the land law blocked the podium in the Ukrainian Parliament – members of Yulia Tymoshenko’s party as well as the Opposition Platform – For Life.
They called for the protests to continue, and the National Corps announced that they would remain in front of the parliament indefinitely.
The protests began around 9 AM local time, and present were agrarian associations, trade unions, as well as a number of parties such as “Fatherland”, “Freedom” and “National Corps”.
It was with the nationalists that the police fought twice. The first time is when they tried to bring tents in front of the Parliament. But later they managed to install them – both on Grushevsky Street and on Constitution Square near the Parliament.
Initially, the protesters agreed with the authorities on the placement of the stage and two large white tents opposite the parliament.
The situation began to deteriorate after activists brought in army tents and began to crush asphalt with a pneumatic hammer drill on Grushevsky Street.
The second clash happened when the police took the tents down with a quick attack and detained 26 activists, according to the National Corps estimates.
The head of the “National Corps” Andrei Biletsky admitted that his people occupied the roadway – which was the reason for the attack by the police.
The Kiev Police issued a statement on the matter:
“Police dismantled military tents and detained the most active protesters in Kiev.
The participants in the event did not comply with the lawful requirements of law enforcement officers, erected military tents on Grushevsky Street and staged a clash: two police officers were taken to a hospital.
Despite all the calls of law enforcement officers not to violate the norms of the current legislation, the organizers and participants of the rally did not comply with the police. Instead, they clashed, used batons, and threw stones. As a result, two policemen were injured, they were taken to a hospital.
After that, despite the requests of dialogue by police officers to stop illegal actions, citizens tried to establish another military tent, ignoring the warnings of the law enforcement officers.
The police dismantled the tents. The most active participants were detained, they are taken to the police department. After reviewing evidence, their actions will be given a legal assessment. “
By the evening on December 17th, protests continued, but there was no violence.
However, it is unlikely that anything would change despite the presumed crisis that the Ukrainian parliament is.
Political analysts estimate that the laws will pass, and those who disagree will simply be dealt with.
This was the opinion of Vadim Karasev, a political analyst, interviewed by Strana.
“Today’s clashes near Rada showed that the authorities will not allow any serious protest. Showed cruelty. The authorities demonstrate that they are ready for any protests and no rallies will change the plans of the president and his mono-majority,” Karasev said.
“In the end, they will take whatever they see fit. They will even pass the bill on the opening of the land market. If they don’t vote, this will show their weakness. Therefore, they will rigidly convince their own people, they will buy the votes of the independent MPs. But they will not change their course.”
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