Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Some worrying violent incidents

The current Parliamentary election campaign, in contrast to the 2004 Presidential campaign, has so far produced few violent incidents. But there have been one or two straws in the wind..

According to unian, today in Irpin' near Kyiv, several hundred Partiya Regioniv activists stormed the National State Tax Service Academy, smashing doors and windows. Injuries were reported and some members of the accademy security team have been hospitalized.

The PR activists were escorting a previously dismissed rector, Petro Melnyk, even though his replacement had been legitimately elected. Melnyk who is also head of PR in the Kyiv region, was recently reappointed to his position by a court order, and is a 'kum' of the highly dubious ex-Procurator General Svyatoslav Piskun, now on the 'rogues gallery' PR electoral list.

Orange activists arrived to help protect the Academy. Though police had been warned of impending trouble, only 4 law-enforcement officers were present. Melnyk himself organized the storming of the building with some private security guys. He was last seen in the rectors office 'writing ukases' of dismissal.

A much more sinister event took place on February 11th when a freelance journalist was seriously assaulted near Donetsk. His condition is reported as being critical. An article written in English in IMI suggests that the attack could be connected to the murder of TV journalist Igor Aleksandrov in July 2001.

Also on 18th February a news agency office in Lviv was gutted. Arson is suspected. A similar, more serious incident occurred in 2004.

Hopefully these events are unrelated and not precursors of worse to come.

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