Ukraine: Dozens of Journalists Assaulted by Police at Protest
At least 40 journalists were injured when baton-wielding police charged into a protesting crowd in Kyiv on Monday evening. The Kyiv Post reports that the journalists, who included photojournalists from The New York Times, Reuters, and AFP, were hit with clubs, rocks, tear gas, and noise grenades.
Denys Danko, an award-winning journalist for the Ukrainian 1+1 channel, was among the journalists attacked by police and says he now has seven stitches in his head. "Every officer running by me hit me with a club," he said. "I was hit 30 times all together. They kicked me in the head, chest, hands."
Danko says he displayed his press badge to a policeman and identified himself as a reporter. According to Danko, the officer replied "I don't give a [expletive]."
Like Danko, several other journalists said they showed their IDs but police ignored credentials and continued the assault. Some reported having their equipment specifically targeted.
According to The Huffington Post, more than 10,000 protestors had amassed in Kyiv's main square on Monday expressing their dissatisfaction with Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych in what have become known as the EuroMaidan protests. Demonstrators were reportedly enraged at Yanukovych's refusal to sign a deal to strengthen European Union ties.
At around 5pm a mass of police formed a column and charged the crowd. The injured who fell to the ground were further beaten by police, hit by rocks thrown by protestors, and subject to the effects of gas and noise grenades used by authorities.
Media watchdog Telekritika compiled a list of 43 reporters overall who experienced the police assault.
The violent crackdown came two days after OCCRP reporter Dmytro Gnap was assaulted by government supporters in Ukraine. Gnap and fellow journalist Yakiv Lyubchych were beaten and their equipment was stolen and broken as they tried to cover the EuroMaidan protests.
Kyiv's chief of police resigned on Sunday.