January 11, 2014 14:47
Twenty policemen injured in clash with protesters in Kyiv - Interior Ministry
KYIV. Jan 11 (Interfax) - Ukrainian police have opened a number of criminal cases into disorderly conduct, violence against law enforcement officials, and obstruction of court functions following events near the Kyiv-Svyatoshyn District Court, in which about 20 members of the Berkut riot police task force were injured on Friday, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said in a statement.
While the court was handing down a sentence on individuals accused of a terrorist attack on Friday, a group of activists led by parliamentarians picketed the Kyiv-Svyatoshyn District Court with flags of the Svoboda (Freedom) organization. Some of them blocked the exits from the court territory and the adjacent streets, it said.
When a police escort vehicle carrying the convicts was trying to leave the court territory, protesters started behaving aggressively, the ministry said. "Radical activists threw bottles with water and stones at the courthouse and the vehicle, blocking its movement. Despite demands by the law enforcement officials that the violation of public order be stopped, some activists continued to obstruct the vehicle's movement, trying at the same time to provoke a conflict with police officials," it said.
To ensure the vehicle's unimpeded passage, Berkut members pushed the demonstrators aside to form an exit corridor for it, which prompted a brawl, the ministry said. Simultaneously, some protesters threw stones at policemen and broke the vehicle's window.
Activists also damaged the courthouse facade.
The ministry also claimed that someone had thrown unidentified substance in the judge's face during the pronouncement of the sentence.
About 20 Berkut members sustained various injuries in the incident, and one of them has been hospitalized with a broken leg.
Criminal proceedings have been opened under Ukrainian Criminal Code Article 296 Part 3 (disorderly conduct), 345 Part 2 (threat or violence against law enforcement official), and Article 276 Part 1 (obstruction of judicial activity). If found guilty, offenders may face up to 5 years' imprisonment, the Interior Ministry said.
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