Ukrainian Unrest Sparks Demonstrations, Violence
At the rally, one speaker denounced the Ukrainian protesters and Russian NGOs as U.S. agents.
Published: February 5, 2014 (Issue # 1796)
Pro-Kremlin demonstrators, who staged a rally in support of Ukraine’s Berkut special police force and against alleged U.S. involvement in the Euromaidan protests on Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa on Sunday, attacked a journalist as she tried to interview the participants.
Anastasia Mironova, a reporter with Ekho Peterburga, the local branch of the Ekho Moskvy radio station, was punched in the face as the demonstrators accused her of being a traitor and a foreign spy, according to the Ekho Peterburga website. The website did not refer to the reporter by name, but it was disclosed by other local media outlets.
About 25 people were present at the authorized rally headlined “Berkut, Russia is with you,” organized by State Duma deputy Yevgeny Fyodorov’s National Liberation Movement (NOD).
Fyodorov is a member of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, while his movement is set to back President Vladimir Putin as Russia’s “national leader” similar to Alexander Nevsky and Giuseppe Garibaldi and oppose what he calls the U.S. occupation of Russia.
His official website claims that Russia has been a U.S. colony since it was defeated in the 40-year war against the U.S. in 1991, had its constitution written by Americans and since then has paid a levy of $1 billion a day to the U.S.
At the rally, one speaker denounced the Ukrainian protesters and Russian NGOs as U.S. agents, warned about an impending world war, and praised the Berkut police for defending the Ukrainian people from foreign aggression. At one stage, he pointed at journalists and said to his supporters, “Look at the photographers taking pictures. It’s clear whom they work for by their typical behavior.”
The participants held flags and placards reading, “Berkut, Russia is with you,” “March of liberation. The time has come to liberate the country again,” “Russia, Ukraine and Belarus have been a single country for centuries” and “Hands off Ukraine, State Department.”
The conflict started when the participants got hold of a large amount of brochures about corruption related to the Olympic Games in Sochi. Co-written by opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, the brochures were distributed by liberal activists on Nevsky Prospekt, close to the location of the rally.
Participants of the pro-Berkut rally began to destroy the brochures and attacked Mironova when she asked where they had taken the materials from, according to the Ekho Peterburga website. The demonstrators knocked a camera from the hands of the reporter who was recording the event and then punched her in the eye, it reported.
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